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T B A V E L S 














THE Work from which the present Volume is translated consists 
of extracts from the Author s Journal, accompanied by his recol 
lections and observations. The absence of chronological ar 
rangement will be sufficiently accounted for, when it is explained 
that the zoological investigations for which the journey was 
undertaken frequently required the Author to make repeated 
visits to one particular place or district, or to remain for a con 
siderable time within the narrow circuit of a few miles ; and 
sometimes to travel rapidly over vast tracts of country. Dis 
claiming any intention of making one of those travelling roman 
ces, with which the tourist literature of the day is overstocked, 
the Author has confined himself to a plain description of facts 
and things as they came within the sphere of his own observa 
tion. But though Dr. Tschudi lays claim to no merit beyond the 
truthfulness of his narrative, yet the reader will no doubt readily 
concede to him the merit of extensive information, and happy 
descriptive talent. His pictures of Nature, especially those 
relating to the animal world, are frequently imbued with much 
of the charm of thought and style which characterizes the writings 
of Buffon. 

Lima, the oldest and most interesting of the cities founded by 
the Spaniards on the western coast of South America, has been 
frequently described ; but no previous writer has painted so ani- 


mated a picture of the city and its inhabitants, as that contained 
in the following volume. After quitting the capital of Peru, Dr. 
Tschudi went over ground previously untrodden by any Euro 
pean traveller. He visited the Western Sierra, the mighty chain 
of the Cordilleras, the boundless level heights, the deep moun 
tain valleys on the eastern declivity of the Andes, and the vast 
primeval forests. Whilst recounting his wanderings in these 
distant regions, he describes not only the country and the people, 
but every object of novelty and interest in the animal, vegetable, 
and mineral creations. 

Those lovers of Natural History who are familiar with the 
German language, and who may wish to make themselves exten 
sively acquainted with the animal world, in those parts of Peru 
visited by Dr. Tschudi, will find abundant information on the 
subject in his work, with plates, entitled " Untersuchungen iiber 
die Fauna Peruana." The present Publication, though con 
taining a vast deal to interest the naturalist, is addressed to the 
general reader, and will, it is presumed, gratify curiosity respect 
ing the highly interesting and little known regions to which it 
relates. It may fairly be said that no previous writer has given 
so comprehensive a picture of Peru ; combining, with animated 
sketches of life and manners, a fund of valuable information on 
Natural History and Commerce. 

T. R. 




Embarkation at Havre The Voyage Arrival at the Island of 
Chiloe Landing The Gyr-Falcon Punta Arena The Island of 
Chiloe described Climate and Cultivation Cattle The Bay San 
Carlos The Governor s House Poverty and Wretchedness of the 
Inhabitants of the Town Strange method of Ploughing Coasting 
Vessels Smuggling Zoology Departure from Chiloe ... 1 


Valparaiso and the adjacent country The Bay Aspect of the Town 
Lighthouses Forts Custom House Exchange Hotels and Tav 
erns War with the Peru-Bolivian Confederation First Expedi 
tion Preparations for the Second Expedition Embarkation of the 
Troops Close of the Port July Festival in honor of the French 
Revolution The Muele, or Mole Police Serenos, or Watchmen 
Movable Prisons Clubs Trade of Valparaiso Santiago 
Zoology ......... . 15 


Juan Fernandez Robinson Crusoe Passage to Callao San Lorenzo 
Rise and fall of the coast Mr. Darwin s opinions on this subject 
Callao The Fortress Siege by the Spaniards General Rodil 
Siege by the Chilians The Colocolo Pirates Zoology Road to 
Lima . ...... . .26 


Lima Situation and extent of the City Streets, Houses, Churches 
and Convents San Pedro The Jesuits Nunneries Beatarios 
Hospitals San Andres The Foundling House The Pantheon 
The Palace The Plaza Mayor Pizarro The Cabildo Fountains 



Palace of the Inquisition The University National Library Mu 
seum of Natural History and Antiquities Academy of Design The 
Mint The Theatre Circus for Cock-fighting The Bridge The 
City Wall Santa Catalina Barracks 42 


Population of Lima Its diminution Different races of the Inhabit 
ants Their characteristics Amusements Education The Wo 
men of Lima Their Costume the Saya y JWanto Female do 
mestic life Love of dress Beatas Indians Slaves Bosales 
Free- Creoles Negroes Negresses Black Creoles Their varieties 
Mestizos Mulattoes Pelanganas Zambos Chinos Foreigners 
in Lima Corruption of the Spanish language. 63 


Primary Schools Colleges The University Monks Saints Santo 
Toribio and Santa Rosa Religious Processions Raising the Host 
The Noche Buena The Carnival Paseos, or Public Promenades 
Ice Riding and Driving Horses Their Equipments and Training 
Mules Lottery in Lima Cookery Breakfasts, Dinners, &c. 
Coffee-houses and Restaurants Markets The Plazo Firme del 
Acho Bull Fights . 89 


Geographical Situation of Lima Height above Sea level Tempera 
ture Diseases Statistical Tables of Births aq^L Deaths Earth 
quakes The Valley of Lima The River Rimac Aqueducts, 
Trenches, &c. Irrigation Plantations Cotton Sugar Various 
kinds of Grain Maize Potatoes, and other tuberous roots 
Pulse Cabbage Plants used for Seasoning Clover The Olive and 
other Oil Trees Fruits Figs and Grapes The Chirimoya The 
Palta The Banana and other Fruits. ... Ill 


Robbers on the coast of Peru The Bandit Leaders Leon and Rayo 
The Corps of Montoneros Watering Places near Lima Surco, 
Atte and Lurin Pacchacamac Ruins of the Temple of the Sun 
Difficulties of Travelling on the Coast of Peru Sea Passage to Hua- 
cho Indian Canoes Ichthyological Collections An old Spaniard s 
recollections of Alexander Von Humboldt The Padre Requena 
Huacho Plundering of Burial Places Huaura Malaria The 
Sugar Plantation at Luhmayo Quipico Ancient Peruvian Ruins 
The Salinas, or Salt Pits Gritalobos Chancay The Piques 



Mode of extracting them Valley of the Pasamayo Extraordinary 
Atmospheric Mirrors Piedras Gordas Palo Seco .... 137 


The Coast southward of Lima Chilca Curious Cigar cases made there 
Yauyos Pisco Journey to Yea A night on the Sand Plains 
Fatal Catastrophe in the year 1823 Vine Plantations at Yea 
Brandy and Wine Don Domingo Elias Vessels for transporting 
Brandy (Botijas and Odres) Cruel mode of skinning Goats Negro 
Carnival Peculiar species of Guinea Pig The Salamanqueja 
Cotton Plantations Quebrada of Huaitara Sangallan Guano Re 
trospect of the Peruvian Coast Rivers Medanos Winds Change 
of Seasons The Garuas The Lomas Mammalia Birds Am 
phibia . ... . . 100 


Roads leading to the Sierra Chaclacayo and Santa Ines Baromet 
rical observations San Pedro Mama The Rio Seco Extraordi 
nary Geological Phenomenon Similar one described by Mr. Dar 
win Surco Diseases peculiar to the Villages of Peru The Ve- 
rugas Indian mode of treating the disorder The Bird-catching 
Spider Horse-Shoeing Indian Tambos San Juan de Matucanas 
The Thorn-apple and the Tonga The Tambo de Viso Bridges 
San Mateo Passports Acchahuari Malady called the Veta Its 
effects on horses Singular tact and caution of Mules Antarangra 
and Mountain Passes Curious partition of Water Piedra Parada 
Yauli Indian Smelting Furnaces Mineral Springs Portuguese 
Mine owners Saco Oroya Hanging Bridges Huaros Roads 
leading from Oroya . . . . 179 


The Cordillera and the Andes Signification of the terms Altitude of 
the Mountains and Passes Lakes Metals Aspect of the Cordil 
lera Shattered Rocks Maladies caused by the diminished Atmo 
spheric Pressure The Veta and the Surumpe Mountain Storms 
The Condor Its habits Indian mode of Catching the Bird The 
Puna or Despoblado Climate Currents of Warm Air Vegeta 
tion Tuberous Plant called the Maca Animals of the Puna The 
Llama, the Alpaco, the Iluanacu and the Vicuna The Chacu and 
the Bolas Household Utensils of the Ancient Peruvians The Vis- 
cacha and the Chinchilla Puna Birds and Amphibia Cattle and 
Pasture Indian Farms Shepherds Huts Ancient Peruvian Roads 
and Buildings Treasure concealed by the Indians in the Puna. . 203 




Cerro de Pasco First discovery of the Mines Careless mode of 
working them Mine Owners and Mine Laborers Amalgamating 
and Refining Produce of the Mines Life in Cerro de Pasco Dif 
ferent Classes of the Population Gaming and Drunkenness Extra 
vagance and Improvidence of the Indian Mine Laborers The Cerro 
de San Fernando Other Important Mining Districts in Peru The 
Salc-edo Mine Castrovireyna Vast Productiveness of the Silver 
Mines of Peru Rich Mines secretly known to the Indians Roads 
leading from Cerro de Pasco The Laguna of Chinchaycocha Bat 
tle of Junin Indian Robbers A Day and a Night in the Puna W ilds 229 


The Sierra Its Climate and Productions Inhabitants Trade Eggs 
circulated as money Mestizos in the Sierra Their Idleness and 
Love of Gaming and Betting Agriculture The Quinua Plant, a 
substitute for Potatoes Growth of Vegetables and Fruits in the 
Sierra Rural Festivals at the Seasons of Sowing and Reaping Skill 
of the Indians in various Handicrafts Excess of Brandy-Drinking 
Chicha Disgusting mode of making it Festivals of Saints 
Dances and Bull-Fights Celebration of Christmas-Day, New-Years 
Day, Palm Sunday, and Good Friday Contributions levied on the 
Indians Tardy and Irregular Transmission of Letters Trade in 
Mules General Style of Building in the Towns and Villages of the 
Sierra Ceja de la Montana. . . 253 


Road to the Primeval Forests Barbacoas, or Indian Suspension Bridges 
Vegetation Hollow Passes Zoology the Montana Plantations 
Inhabitants Trade in Peruvian Bark Wandering Indians Wild 
Indians or Indios Braves Languages, Manners, and Customs of the 
Indies Bravos Dress Warlike Weapons and Hunting Arms 
Dwellings Religion Physical formation of the Wild Indian Tribes 
Animals of the Aboriginal Forests Mammalia Hunting the 
Ounce Birds Amphibia Poisonous Serpents Huaco Insects 
Plants . 271 


Montana of San Carlos de Vitoc Villages Hacienda of Maraynioc 
the Coca Plant Mode of Cultivating and Gathering it Mastication 
of Coca Evil Consequences of its excessive Use Its Nutritious 
Qualities Indian Superstitions connected with the Coca Plant 


Suggestions for its Introduction in the European Navies Fabulous 
animal called the Carbunculo The Chunchos Missions to Cerro 
de la Sal Juan Santos Atahuallpa The Franciscan Monks De 
population of Vitoc . 309 


Oppressions exercised by the Spaniards upon the Peruvian Indians 
The Repartimiento and the Mita Indian Insurrections Tupac 
Amaru His Capture and Execution War of Independence Cha 
racter of the Peruvian Indians Music Dress Superstitions Lon 
gevity Diminished Population of Peru Languages spoken by the 
Aboriginal Inhabitants Specimen of Quichua Poetry The Yara- 
vies The Quipu Water Conduits Ancient Buildings Fortresses 
Idols Domestic Utensils Ancient Peruvian Graves Mode of 
Burying the Dead Mummies ; 329 



Embarkation at Havre The Voyage Arrival at the Island of Chiloe- 
Landing The Gyr-Falcon Punta Arena The Island of Chiloe de 
scribedClimate and Cultivation Cattle The Bay San Carlos The 
Governor s House Poverty and Wretchedness of the Inhabitants of the 
Town Strange method of Ploughing Coasting Vessels Smuggling 
Zoology Departure from Chiloe. 

ON the 27th of February, 1838, 1 sailed from Havre-de-Grace on 
board the " Edmond." This vessel, though a French merchant 
man, was freighted with a cargo of Swiss manufactured goods, 
suited to any commercial transactions which might be entered 
into in the course of a circumnavigatory voyage. It was a 
boisterous morning. A fall of snow and heavy clouds soon in- 
tercepted our view of the coast of France, and not one cheering 
sunbeam shone out to betoken for us a favorable voyage. We 
passed down the British Channel, where the multitude of vessels, 
and the flags of all nations, presented an enlivening picture, and 
we finally cleared it on the 5th of March. Favored by a brisk 
north wind, we soon reached Madeira and came in sight of Tene- 
rifie, the peak being just perceptible on the skirt of the horizon. 
Easterly breezes soon brought us to the island of Fogo, which, 
having passed on the 35th day of our voyage, we received the 
usual marine baptism, and participated in all the ceremonies ob- 


served on crossing the equator. We soon reached the tropic ot 
Capricorn, and endeavored to gain the channel between the 
Falkland Islands and Patagonia ; but unfavorable winds obliged 
us to direct our course eastwards, from the Island of Soledad to 
the Staten Islands. On the 3d of March we made the longi 
tude of Cape Horn, but were not able to double it until we got 
into the 60th degree of south latitude. In those dangerous 
waters, where it is admitted by the boldest English sailors that 
the waves rage more furiously than in any other part of the 
world, we encountered great risk and difficulty. For twenty- 
two days we were driven about on the fearfully agitated sea, 
southward of Tierra del Fuego, and were only saved from being 
buried in the deep, by the excellent build and soundness of our 

We suffered much, and were long delayed by this storm ; but 
when it subsided, a smart breeze sprang up from the southward, 
and we held our course along the Pacific to the coast of Chile. 
After a voyage of 99 days we cast anchor on Sunday the 5th of 
June, in the Bay of San Carlos. Like the day of our departure 
from Europe, that of our arrival off Chiloe was gloomy and over 
cast. Heavy clouds obscured the long-looked-for island, and its 
picturesque shore could only be seen, when, at intervals, the wind 
dispersed the dark atmospheric veil. We had no sooner cast an 
chor than several boats came alongside rowed by Indians, who of 
fered us potatoes, cabbage, fish, and water, in exchange for tobac 
co. Only those who have been long at sea can form an idea of 
the gratification which fresh provisions, especially vegetables, af 
ford to the weary voyager. In a couple of hours, the harbor 
master came on board to examine the ship, the cargo, &c., and to 
give us permission to go ashore. The long-boat being got out, 
and well manned, we stepped into it, and were conveyed to tht 
harbor. The Bay of San Carlos being shallow, large ships, or 
vessels, heavily laden, are obliged to go three English miles or 
more from the landing-place before they can anchor. Our boat- 
was gaily decorated and new]y_palnted ; but this was mere out 
side show, for it was in a very unsound condition. During our 
passage through the tropics, the sun had melted the pitch between 
the planks of the boat, which lay on the deck keel uppermost- 


Jn this crazy boat, we had scarcely got a quarter of a league 
from the ship, when the water rushed in so forcibly through all 
the cracks and fissures, that it was soon more than ankle deep. 
Unluckily the sailors had forgotten to put on board a bucket or 
anything for baling out the water, so that we were obliged to use 
our hats and boots for that purpose. Fourteen persons were 
crowded together in this leaky boat, and the water continued 
rising, until at length we began to be seriously apprehensive for 
our safety, when, fortunately, our situation was observed by the 
people on shore. They promptly prepared to send out a boat to 
our assistance, but just as it was got afloat, we succeeded in 
reaching the pier, happy once more to set our feet on terra firma. 

Our first business was to seek shelter and refreshment. 
There is no tavern in San Carlos, but there is a sort of substitute 
for one, kept by an old Corsican, named Filippi, where captains 
of ships usually take up their quarters. Filippi, who recognized 
an old acquaintance in one of our party, received us very kindly, 
and showed us to apartments which certainly had no claim to 
the merits of either cleanliness or convenience. They were 
long, dark, quadrangular rooms, without windows, and -were 
destitute of any article of furniture, except a bed in a kind of 

As soon as I got on shore, I saw a multitude of small birds of 
prey. They keep in flocks, like our sparrows, hopping about 
everywhere, and perching on the hedges and house-tops. I 
anxiously wished for an opportunity to make myself better ac 
quainted with one of them. Presuming that shooting in the 
town might be displeasing to the inhabitants, who would natu 
rally claim to themselves a sort of exclusive sporting right, I 
took my gun down to the sea-shore, and there shot one of the 
birds. It belonged to the Gyr-Falcon family (Polyborinicz), and 
was one of the species peculiar to South America (Polyborus eld- 
mango, Vicil). The whole of the upper part of the body is 
brown, but single feathers here and there have a whitish-brown 
edge. On the tail are several indistinct oblique stripes. The 
under-part of the body is whitish-brown, and is also marked with 
transverse stripes feebly denned. The bird I shot_jne^sured 
from the point of the beak to the end of the tail 1 foot 6J inches. 


Though these Gyr-Falcons live socially together, yet they are 
very greedy and contentious about their prey. They snap up, 
as food, all the offal thrown out of doors ; and thus they render 
themselves serviceable to the inhabitants, who consequently do 
not destroy them. In some of the valleys of Peru, I met with 
these birds again, but very rarely and always single and soli 
tary. I continued my excursions on the sea-shore, but with 
little satisfaction, for the pouring rain had driven animals of 
every kind to their lurking-holes. After a few days, I went on 
board the " Edmond," for the purpose of visiting PUNTA ARENA, 
a town on the side of the bay, whither our boat used to be 
sent for fresh water. The ground surrounding the spring 
whence the ships obtain supplies of water, is sandy, and it be 
comes exceedingly marshy further inland. After wandering 
about for a few hours, I found myself quite lost in a morass, out 
of which I had to work my way with no little difficulty. The 
whole produce of my hard day s sport consisted of an awlbeak, 
a small dark-brown bird (Opethiorliyncus patagonicus}, and some 
land-snails. On our return, as we were nearing the ship, we 
killed a seal (Otaria chilensis, Mull.), which was rising after a 
dive, close to the boat. 

On the 22d of June, all our ship s company were on board by 
order of the captain. We weighed anchor, and cruized about 
for some time. At length, about five in the afternoon, we re 
turned, and the ship was anchored again precisely on the spot 
she had left a few hours before. It was set down in the log-book 
that the wind was not sufficiently favorable to allow the ship to 
pass out safely through the narrow entrance to the bay. But 
all on board were well aware that this was merely a pretence on 
the part of the captain, who, for some reason or other, wished to 
stop longer at San Carlos. 

I was very much pleased at this opportunity of prolonging 
my stay at the Island of Chiloe, hoping that better weather 
would enable me to make an excursion into the interior. But 
the sky still continued overcast, and the rain poured inces 
santly. One day, however, I undertook a Journey to Castro, in 
company with the French Charg.e_^^Affiiires to Peru, one of my 
fellow passengers on the voyage. A merchant accommodated 


us with two horses, saddled in the Chilian manner ; but he 
warned us to be on our guard, as horses were often restive 
when just returned from their summer pasturage. We set off 
very promisingly. The commencement of our ride was pleas 
ant enough, though the road was steep and very difficult. It 
sometimes lay over smooth slippery stones, then through deep 
marshes, or over scattered logs of wood, which bore evidence of 
attempts to render the ground passable, by this rude kind of 
paving. After we had ridden for several hours in the forest, 
the rain checked our further progress, and we turned, to re 
trace our way back. Our horses seemed well pleased with 
the project of returning home. For a time they proceeded 
with wonderful steadiness ; but on coming to a part of the road 
where the ground was comparatively level and firm, they quick 
ened their pace, and at length dashed forward through the wood, 
uncontrolled by the bridle. The long narrow saddle, with its 
woollen covering, the crescent-shaped wooden stirrups, and the 
heavy spurs, with their clumsy rowels, baffled all our skill in 
horsemanship, and it was with no little difficulty we kept our 
seats. We thought it best to give the animals the rein, and they 
galloped through the umbrageous thickets, until at last, panting 
and breathless, they stuck in a morass. Here we recovered 
our control over them, and pursued the remainder of our jour 
ney without further accident, though we were drenched to the 
skin on our return to the town. 

On subsequent days, I took my rambles on foot, and found 
myself richly rewarded thereby. The long evenings we spent 
in the company of our host and the harbor-master, from both of 
whom I obtained some useful information respecting the island. 

Chiloe is one of the largest islands of the Archipelago which 
extends along the west coast of South America, from 42 south 
lat. to the Straits of Magellan. It is about 23 German miles 
long, and 10 broad. A magnificent, but almost inaccessible 
forest covers the unbroken line of hills stretching along Chiloe, 
and gives to the island a charming aspect of undulating luxuri 
ance. Seldom, however, can the eye command a distinct view 
of those verdant hills j for overhanging clouds surcharged with 
rain, almost constantly veil the spreading tops of the trees. At 


most parts of the shore the declivity is rapid. There are many 
inlets, which, though small, afford secure anchorage ; but there 
are no harbors of any magnitude. While Castro was the capi 
tal of the island, Chacao was the principal port; but San 
Carlos having become the residence of the governor, this latter 
place is considered the chief harbor ; and with reason, for its 
secure, tranquil bay unites all the advantages the navigator can 
desire on the stormy coast of South Chile. At Chacao, on the 
contrary, reefs and strong currents render the entrance danger 
ous and the anchorage insecure. 

Chiloe is but little cultivated, and scantily populated. If the 
statement of my informant, the harbor-master, be correct, Chiloe 
and the adjacent small islands contain only from 48,000 to 50,000 
inhabitants, part of whom live in ranches (huts), and part in a 
few villages. Next to San Carlos, and the half-deserted Castro, 
to which the title of " City" is giveia, the chief places are Cha 
cao, Vilipilli, Cucao, Velinoe. It is only in the neighborhood of 
these towns or villages that the forest trees have been felled, and 
their removal has uncovered a fertile soil, which would reward 
by a hundred- fold the labor of the husbandman. 

The climate of the island is moist and cool, and upon the 
whole very unpleasant. During the winter months, the sun is 
seldom seen ; and it is a proverbial saying in Chiloe, that it rains 
six days of the week, and is cloudy on the seventh. In summer 
there are occasionally fine days, though seldom two in succes 
sion. The thick forests are therefore never dry, and beneath 
the trees, the vegetation of the marshy soil is peculiarly luxuri 
ant. The constant moisture is one of thfe greatest obstacles to 
agriculture. To clear the ground for cultivation, it would be 
necessary to burn the forests, and as the trees are always damp, 
that could not be do~ne without great difficulty. To some kinds of 
culture the soil is not favorable. The cereals, for example, sel 
dom thrive in Chiloe ; the seed rots after the ear is formed. 
Maize grows best ; though it shoots too much into leaf, and bears 
only small grain. The damp soil, on the other hand, is favorable 
to potatoes, of which vast quantities are planted. There is a 
degenerate kind of potato, very abundant in Chiloe. On bisec 
tion it exhibits a greater or lesser number of concentric rings, 


alternately white and violet ; sometimes all of the latter color. 
It is well known that southern Chile is the native land of the po 
tato. In Chiloe and also in the neighboring islands, potatoes grow 
wild ; but, both in size and flavor, they are far inferior to the cul 
tivated kind. Like the maize, they shoot up in large leaves and 
stalks. The climate is also very favorable to the different kinds 
of the cabbage plant ; but peas and beans do not thrive there. 

In the forests there are often clear spots on which the grass 
grows to a great height, and supplies excellent pasturage for 
numerous herds of cattle. The inhabitants of Chiloe breed for 
their own use, horses, oxen, sheep, and swine. The horses are 
small, and not handsomely formed, but very spirited and strong. 
Some are scarcely twelve hands high. The cows are small and 
lank, and the same may be said of the swine and sheep. It is 
remarkable that all the rams have more than two horns ; the 
greater number have three, and many are furnished with four 
or five. I afterwards observed the same in Peru. The domestic 
animals on this island, notwithstanding the abundance of food, 
are small, and sickly-looking. I believe the cause to be want of 
care, for they remain all the year round exposed to every sort 
of weather and discomfort. 

The population of Chiloe consists of Whites, Indians, and peo 
ple of mixed blood. The Indians are now few in number, and 
those few are chiefly in the southern part of the island, and the 
adjacent islets. They are of the Araucana race, and appear to 
be a sept between that race and the people of Tierra del Fuego, 
on the one side, and the Pampas Indians on the other. People 
of mixed races form by far the greater portion of the population. 
They are met with in every variety of amalgamation. Taken 
in general, they are the reverse of handsome. They are shor,t 
and thick-set, and have long, straight coarse hai-r. Their faces 
are round and full, their eyes small,, and the expression of their 
countenances is unintelligent. The whites are either Chilenos 
or Spaniards : the latter are almost the only Europeans who 
have become settlers here. 

The principal town, San Carlos, called by the natives " An- 
cud," lies on the northern coast of a very fine bay. Without a 
eood chart, the entrano N to this bay is diffif; r 7 t. Numerous 


small islands form a labyrinth, out of which vessels, if not com 
manded by very experienced pilots, cannot easily be extricated. 
Besides, near the land, the sky is usually obscured by clouds 
which prevent any observation for the latitude, as the sun s alti 
tude cannot be taken even at noon ; and when the sun gets 
lower, the hills, which would serve as guiding points, cease to 
be distinctly seen. 

Several whalers, which for some days vainly endeavored to 
work through this passage, were afterwards obliged to direct 
their course northward, and to cast anchor in Valivia. One of 
the largest islands at the entrance of the bay is San Sebastian, 
where there are numerous herds of cattle. Cochino is a small 
island, distant only a few miles from San Carlos. It is hilly, 
and thickly crowned with brush-wood. It has only one landing- 
place, and that is rather insecure for boats. The water of the 
bay is remarkably clear and good ; only round the little island 
of Cochino, and along the harbor, it is covered with an immense 
quantity of sea-moss, which often renders the landing difficult. 
It frequently happens that commanders of ships, wishing to go 
on board to make sail during the night, get out of the right 
course, and instead of going to the ship, steer to Cochino and get 
into the moss, where their boats stick fast, tiU returning day 
light enables them to work their way out. 

The poor inhabitants boil this sea-moss and eat it. It is very 
salt and slimy, and is difficult of digestion. Among the people 
of Chiloe, this sea-moss occupies an important place in surgery. 
When a leg or an arm is broken, after bringing the bone into its 
proper position, a broad layer of the moss is bound round the 
fractured limb. In drying, the slime causes it to adhere to the 
skin, and thus it forms a fast bandage, which cannot be ruffled 
or shifted. After the lapse of a few weeks, when the bones 
have become firmly united, the bandage is loosened by being 
bathed with tepid water, and it is theri^ easily removed. Tlio- 
Indians of Chiloe were acquainted, long before the French sur 
geons, with the use of the paste bandage. 

The town of San Carlos is dirty ; the streets unpaved, nar 
row, and crooked. The houses, with few exceptions, are 
wretched wooden huts, for the most part without windows ; but 


there is a board divided in the middle horizontally, the upper 
part of which being open, it serves for a window, and when both 
parts are open, it forms a door. The flooring usually consists 
merely of hard-trodden clay, covered with straw matting. The 
furniture, like the apartments, is rude and inconvenient. These 
remarks of course apply to the habitations of the very poor class 
of people. The richer families live in more comfortable style. 
Of the public buildings, the custom-house and the governor s 
residence are the most considerable, but both make a very in 
different appearance. In front of the governor s house, which 
occupies a tolerably large space of ground, in the upper part of 
the town, a sentinel is constantly stationed. This sentinel 
parades to and fro, without shoes or stockings, and not unfre- 
quently without a coat, his arms being covered only by his shirt 
sleeves. As to a cap, that seems to be considered as unnecessary 
a part of a well-conditioned uniform, as shoes and stockings. 
After sunset every person who passes the governor s house is 
challenged. " Who goes there ?" is the first question ; the 
second is Que genie ? (what country ?) The sailors amuse 
themselves by returning jocular answers to these challenges ; 
and the sentinel, irritated by their jeers, sometimes runs after 
them through part of the town, and when weary of the^chace 
returns to his posL 

Poverty and uncleanliness vie with each other in San Carlos. 
The lower class of the inhabitants are exceedingly filthy, parti 
cularly the women, whose usual dress is a dirty woollen gown, 
and a greasy looking mantilla. In their damp gloomy habita 
tions, they squat down on the floor, close to the brasero (chafing 
pan), which also serves them as a stove for cooking. They 
bruise maize between two stones, and make it into a thick kind 
of soup or porridge. When employed in paring potatoes or ap 
ples, or in cutting cabbages, they throw the skins and waste 
leaves on the ground, so that they are frequently surrounded by 
a mass of half-decayed vegetable matter. Their favorite beve 
rage is mate (the Paraguay tea), of which they partake at all hours 
of the day. The mode of preparing and drinking the mate is as 
follows : a portion of the herb is put into a sort of cup made from 
a gourd, and boiling water is poured over it. The mistress of 



the house then takes a reed or pipe, to one end of which a 
strainer is affixed,* and putting it into the decoction, she sucks 
up a mouthful of the liquid. She then hands the apparatus to 
the person next to her, who partakes of it in the same manner, 
and so it goes round. The mistress of the house and all her 
guests suck the aromatic fluid through the same pipe or lombilla. 

The poverty of the people is extreme. Specie is seldom cur 
rent, and is exclusively in the hands of a few traders, who 
supply the Indians with European articles, in payment of their 
labor, or in exchange for the produce of the island, which is sent 
to Chile and Peru. With much surprise I learned that there is 
no saw-mill in Chiloe, where the vast abundance of trees would 
furnish a supply of excellent deals, for which ready and good 
payment would be obtained in Peru. 

The inhabitants direct their industry chiefly to agriculture 
and navigation. But rude and imperfect are their implements 
for field labor, as well as their nautical vessels. To a stranger 
nothing can appear more extraordinary than their mode of 
ploughing. As to a regular plough, I do not believe such a thing 
is known in Chiloe. If a field is to be tilled, it is done by two 
Indians, who are furnished with long poles, pointed at one end. 
The one thrusts his pole, pretty deeply, and in an oblique direc 
tion, into the earth, so that it forms an angle with the surface of 
the ground. The other Indian sticks his pole in at a little dis 
tance, and also obliquely, and he forces it beneath that of his 
fellow-laborer, so that the first pole lies as it were above the 
second. The first Indian then presses on his pole, and makes it 
work on the other, as a lever on its fulcrum, and the earth is 
thrown up by the point of the pole. Thus they gradually ad 
vance, until the whole field is furrowed by this laborious process. 

The Chiloe boats are merely hulks. They obey the helm 
reluctantly, but they bear away before the wjnd, Several indi 
viduals usually join together, and convey in these boats, the 
"produce of their respective localities, in the southern villa 
ges, to San Carlos. Women as well as men take their turn at 

* Bonibilla is the name given to this pipe, and the cup or gourd in which 
the decoction of the mate is prepared, is called the macerina. 


rowing the boats, and after being out all day, they run into some 
creek, where they pass the night. When a favorable breeze 
springs up, they hoist a sail, made of ponchos. The poncho is 
an important article of male clothing in this country. It consists 
of a piece of woollen cloth, measuring from 5 to 7 feet long, and 
from 3 to 4 feet broad. In the middle there is a slit from 12 to 
14 inches long; through this slit the wearer passes his head. 
The poncho thus rests on the shoulders, and hangs down in front 
and behind as low as the knees. At the sides, it reaches to the 
elbow, or middle of the forearm, and thus covers the whole of 
the body. The carters and wagoners in Swabia wear, in rainy 
weather, a covering somewhat resembling the poncho, which 
they make out of their woollen horse-coverings. When a Chiloe 
boat is on its passage on the coast, and a sail happens to be want 
ed, the men give up their ponchos and the women their mantil 
las. The slits in the ponchos are stitched up, and both ponchos 
and mantillas being sewn together are fixed to a pole or bar of 
wood, which is hoisted to a proper position on the mast. This 
patchwork sail can only be serviceable when the wind is fresh. 
At nightfall, when the boat runs into one of the creeks for shel 
ter, the sail is lowered, and the sewing being unpicked, the pon 
chos and mantillas are returned to their respective owners, who 
wrap themselves in them, and go to sleep. 

There is but little trade in San Carlos, for Chile itself possess 
es in superfluity all the productions of Chiloe, and the inhabitants 
of the island are so poor, and their wants so limited, that they 
require but few foreign articles. The port is therefore seldom 
visited by any trading vessel from Europe. Some of the Chiloe 
boats keep up a regular traffic along the coast. They carry 
wood, brooms, hams, and potatoes, to Valparaiso, Arica, Callao, 
&c., and they bring back in return, linen, woollen and cotton 
cloths, ironware, tobacco, and spirits. 

North American and French whalers have for several years 
past been frequent visitors to San Carlos, as they can there pro 
vide themselves, at a cheap rate, with provisions for the long fish 
ing season. All the captains bring goods, which they smuggle 
on shore, where they sell or exchange them at a high profit. A 
custom-house officer is, indeed, sent on board every vessel to ex- 


amine what is to be unshipped ; but a few dollars will silence 
him, and make him favor the contraband operations, which are 
carried on without much reserve. A French captain brought to 
Chiloe a quantity of water-proof cloaks and hats, made of a sort 
of black waxed cloth, and sold them to a dealer in San Carlos. 
To evade the duty, he sent his men on shore each wearing one 
of these hats and cloaks, which they deposited in the dealer s 
store, and then returned on board the ship, dressed in their 
sailors garb. This was repeated so often, that at length it was 
intimated to the captain that, if his men had a fancy to come on 
shore with such hats and cloaks they would be permitted to do 
so, but it must be on condition of their returning on board 
dressed in the same costume. 

The people of Ancud (San Carlos), formerly so simple and 
artless, have gradually become corrupt and degenerate, since 
their frequent intercourse with the whale-fishers. Among the 
female portion of the population, depravity of morals and unbe 
coming boldness of manners have in a great degree superseded 
the natural simplicity which formerly prevailed. All the vices 
of the lowest class of sailors, of which the crews of the South 
Sea Whalers are composed, have quickly taken root in San Car 
los, and the inseparable consequences of those vices will soon be 
fatal to the moral and physical welfare of the inhabitants. 

In the interior of the island of Chiloe there are few quadru 
peds. The largest, the domestic animals exceptcd, is a fox 
(Cards fulvipes, Wat.), which was first discovered by the natu 
ralists who accompanied Capt. King s expedition. This is the 
only beast of prey. The coast abounds in seals of the sea-dog 
species (Otaria chitensis, Mull., Otaria Ursina, Per., Otaria julata, 
Desm.) in sea-otters (Otaria cliilensis, Ben.) and in the water 
mouse (Myopotamus Coypus, J. Geoff). Among the birds, there 
are some very fine species of ducks, well worthy of notice, 
which are also found on the continent of South America. There 
is the little Cheucau (Pteroptochus rubecula, Kettl.), to which the 
Chilotes attach various superstitious ideas, and pretend to foretell 
good or ill luck from its song. The modulations which this bird 
is capable of uttering are numerous, and the natives assign a 
particular meaning to each. One day, when I wished to have 


some shooting, I took an Indian lad with me. Having levelled 
my gun at one of these birds, which was sitting in a low bush, 
and uttering its shrill huit-huit, my young companion firmly 
grasped my arm, earnestly entreating me not to shoot the bird, 
as it had sung its unlucky note. But my desire to possess a spe 
cimen was too great to be thus baffled, so I fired my gun and 
brought it down. I was engaged in examining the elegant little 
bird, when a mule, probably alarmed by the shot, came running 
at full speed towards the spot where we were, and we deemed it 
prudent to get behind a hedge as speedily as possible. The in 
furiated mule made an attack on my gun, which was resting 
against the hedge. It was thrown down, bitten, and trampled on 
by the mule. The Indian boy turned to me, with a serious 
countenance, and said : " It is well if we escape further dan 
ger ! I told you the bird had piped bad luck !" 

The day fixed for our departure from Chiloe now approached. 
The wind, which had heretofore been unfavorable for leaving the 
port, promised to change, and we began to ship provisions. 
Whilst I was waiting for the boat which was to take me on board, 
I had an opportunity of observing the dexterity with which the 
Indians slaughter their cattle. This business is performed on the 
Mole, where, in the space of a quarter of an hour, and by two 
men only, an ox is killed, and the carcase cut up into the proper 
pieces. When it is necessary to ship live oxen, the animals are 
brought to the shore, where their feet are bound together, and 
then they are rolled over planks into the lancha (boat). On near- 
ing the ship, the Indians tie a rope round the animal s horns, and 
then the sailors hoist him up with a strong tackle. It is a curious 
sight to behold a strongly-bound struggling ox, hanging by the 
tackle, and swinging between wind and water. My little Chilo- 
tean pony, which I intended to take to Peru, was dealt with more 
gently : he was got on board with a girth, purposely made for 
hoisting horses on board ship. 

At length we sailed out of the bay with a fresh easterly wind. 
Three coasting boats, one of which was heavily laden with 
brooms, left the roads at the same time, and their crews said 
they hoped to reach Valparaiso before us. But they had too great 
confidence in their round-bottomed keels, for they did not anchor 


in their place of destination till five or six days after our arrival. 
The wind soon got up, blowing W.N.W., but rather flat. Tn 
the course of the night, during the second watch, we were roused 
from our sleep by a heavy shock, followed by a peculiarly tremu 
lous motion of the whole ship. We concluded we had struck 
in passing over some hidden rock. The lead was thrown, but 
no ground was found ; the pumps were set a-going, but we were 
free of water. The captain attributed the shock to an earth 
quake, and on our arrival at Chile, his conjecture was con 
firmed. In Valdivia, in the latitude of which place we were at 
the time, a severe shock of an earthquake had been experienced. 
After a pretty favorable passage of seven days, we anchored 
on the 30th of June in the harbor of Valparaiso. 



Valparaiso and the adjacent country The Bay Aspect of the Town- 
Lighthouses Forts Custom House Exchange Hotels and Taverns 
War with the Peru-Bolivian Confederation First Expedition Prepa 
rations for the Second Expedition Embarkation of the Troops Close 
of the Port July Festival in honor of the French Revolution The 
Muele, or Mole Police Serenos, or Watchmen Moveable Prisons 
Clubs Trade of Valparaiso Santiago Zoology. 

THE impression produced by the approach to Valparaiso on per 
sons who see land for the first time after a sea voyage of several 
months duration, must be very different from that felt by those 
who anchor in^the port after a passage of a few days from the 
luxuriantly verdant shores of the islands lying to the south. 
Certainly, none of our ship s company would have been disposed 
to give the name of " Vale of Paradise" to the sterile, monoto 
nous coast which lay outstretched before us; and yet, to the 
early navigators, its first aspect, after a long and dreary voyage, 
over the desert ocean, might naturally enough have suggested 
the idea of an earthly paradise. 

Along the sea coast there extends a range of round-topped 
hills, 15 or 16 hundred feet high, covered with a grey-brownish 
coating, relieved only here and there by patches of dead green, 
and furrowed by clefts, within which the bright red of tile-roofed 
houses is discernible. Half- withered cactus trees, the only 
plants which take root in the ungenial soil, impart no life to the 
dreary landscape. The hills continue rising in undulating out. 
lines, and extend into the interior of the country, where they 
unite with the great chain of the Andes. 

The bay of Valparaiso is open on the north and west ; on the 
south it is protected by a little promontory called the Punta de 
Coromilla. In this direction the shore is steep and rocky, and 


the waves break against it with great fury. From the Punta de 
Coromilla the bay extends from east to north-west in the form of 
a gently curved crescent, having a sloping, sandy beach, which 
rises very gradually towards the hills. On the north side of the 
bay there are several small inlets, almost inaccessible and edged 
with steep rocks. The bay is sometimes unsafe, for it is com 
pletely unsheltered on the north, and the heavy gales which blow 
from that point frequently end in storms. At those times the 
bay is furiously agitated, the waves sometimes rising as high as 
in the open sea, and the ships are obliged to cast their sheet-an 
chors. Many vessels have at various times been driven from 
their anchorage, cast ashore, and dashed to pieces on a rock 
called Little Cape Horn ; for, when a violent gale -blows from 
the north, it is impossible to get out to sea. Sailors are accus 
tomed to say that in a violent storm they would rather be tossed 
about on the wide ocean than be at anchor in the bay of Valpa 
raiso. But against the south wind, though sometimes no less 
boisterous than the northern gales, the harbor affords secure 
refuge, being perfectly sheltered by the Punta de Coromilla. 

The town of Valparaiso looks as if built on terraces at the foot 
of the range of hills above mentioned. Northward it stretches 
out on the level sea shore, in a long double row of houses called 
the Almendral : towards the south it rises in the direction of the 
hills. Two clefts or chasms (quebradas) divide this part of the 
town into three separate parts consisting of low, shabby houses. 
These three districts have been named by the sailors after the 
English sea terms Fore-top, Main-top, and Mizen-top. The 
numerous quebradas, which all intersect the ground in a parallel 
direction, are surrounded by poor-looking houses. The wretch 
ed, narrow streets running along these quebradas are, in winter, 
and especially at night, exceedingly dangerous, Valparaiso being 
very badly lighted. It sometimes happens that people fall over 
the edges of the chasms and are killed, accidents which not un- 
frequently occur to the drunken sailors who infest these quarters 
of the town. 

Viewed from the sea, Valparaiso has rather a pleasing aspect, 
and some neat detached houses built on -littler levels, artificially 
made on the declivities of the hills, have a very picturesque ap- 


pearance. The scenery in the immediate background is gloomy ; 
but, in the distance, the summit of the volcano Aconcagua, which 
is 23,000 feet above the level of the sea, and which, on fine 
evenings, is gilded by the rays of the setting sun, imparts a pe 
culiar charm to the landscape. 

The bay is protected by three small forts. The southernmost, 
situated between the lighthouse and the town, has five guns. 
The second, which is somewhat larger, called el Castillo de San 
Antonio, is in the southern inlet of the bay. Though the most 
strongly fortified of the three, it is in reality a mere plaything. 
In the northern part of the town, on a little hillock, stands the 
third fort, called el Castillo del Rosario, which is furnished with 
six pieces of cannon. The churches of Valparaiso are exceed 
ingly plain and simple, undistinguished either for architecture 
or internal decoration. 

The custom-house is especially worthy of mention. It is a 
beautiful and spacious building, and from its situation on the 
Muele (Mole) is an object which attracts the attention of all who 
arrive at Valparaiso. In the neighborhood of the custom-house 
is the exchange. It is a plain building, and contains a large and 
elegant reading-room, in which may always be found the princi 
pal European newspapers. In this reading-room there is also an 
excellent telescope by Dollond, which is a source of amusement, 
by affording a view of the comical scenes sometimes enacted on 
board the ships in the port. 

The taverns and hotels are very indifferent. The best are 
kept by Frenchmen, though even those are incommodious and 
expensive. The apartments, which scarcely contain necessary 
articles of furniture, are dirty, and often infested with rats. In 
these houses, however, the table is tolerably well provided ; for 
there is no want of good meat and vegetables in the market. 
The second-rate taverns are far beneath the very worst in the 
towns of Europe. 

On our arrival in Valparaiso, a vast deal of activity and bustle 
prevailed in the harbor. Chile had declared war against the 
Peru-Bolivian confederation, and was fitting out a new expedi 
tion for the invasion of Peru. At its head were the banished 
Peruvian president Don Augustin Gamarra, and the Chilian 


general Bulnes. The growing power of Santa Cruz, who set 
himself up as protector of a confederation between Bolivia and 
Peru, had given alarm to the Chilian government. It was appre 
hended, and not without reason, that the independence of Chile 
might be threatened by so dangerous a neighbor. Santa Cruz 
had given umbrage to Chile by several decrees, especially one, 
by which merchant vessels coming direct from Europe into a 
Bolivian or Peruvian port, and there disposing of their cargoes, 
were subject to very low duties, whilst heavy imposts were levied 
on ships landing any part of their cargoes in a Chilian port. 
This law greatly increased the trade of Peru ; but it was preju 
dicial to Chile. This and other grounds of offence, joined to the 
representations of the fugitive Ex-president Gamarra and his ad 
herents, determined the Chilian government to declare war. An 
expedition under the command of General Blanco was sent to 
Peru ; but Santa Cruz was prepared to receive the invaders, 
and in the valley of Arequipa he surrounded the Chilian forces" 
so completely that they were obliged to surrender without strik 
ing * a blow. Santa Cruz magnanimously allowed General 
Blanco to make a very favorable capitulation. The soldiers 
were sent home to their country ; but the horses were detained 
and sold by the conquerors to the conquered. 

The generosity of Don Andres Santa Cruz did not meet its 
due return on the part of the Chilian government. The treaty 
of peace concluded by Blanco was not ratified in Santiago, the 
minister declaring that the general was not authorized to nego- 
liate it. Hostilities were kept up between the two states, and at 
length a second and more important expedition was fitted out. 
It sailed whilst we were lying in the harbor. 

No sooner had-we cast anchor than several officers of the 
Chilian army came on board to inquire whether we had any 
swords to dispose of, assuring us that they, together with the 
majority of their comrades, were yet unprovided with arms, and 
knew not where to procure them. The captain informed them 
that there were no swords in our cargo ; but that he had a few 
sabres, &c., which he was very willing to sell. They were 
immediately produced, and some were purchased ; among the 
Dumber was a heavy broad-sword, about five feet ir. length, 


which had once belonged to a cuirassier in Napoleon s guard. 
The Chilian officer who bargained for it was a delicate-looking 
stripling, who, with both hands, could scarcely raise the heavy 
weapon. He, nevertheless, flattered himself that it would ena 
ble him to achieve great deeds in battle and deal death among 
the Peruvians. Ten months afterwards I met this hero on a 
march among the mountains of Peru. He had, girded on, a 
light little sword, like a tooth pick or a bodkin compared with 
the formidable weapon he had discarded, and which a sturdy 
negro was carrying behind him. I could not refrain from asking 
the officer whether the trusty broad-sword had not done good 
service in the battle of Yungay ; but he candidly acknowledged 
that he had not attempted to use it, as he found it much too un 

The Chilian squadron sent to Peru consisted of twenty-seven 
transport ships, and eight ships of war. Almost all were in a 
wretched condition, having but few guns, and manned by very 
insufficient crews. The largest vessels were the three corvettes, 
Confederacion, Santa Cruz, and Valparaiso. Only one ship, the 
schooner brig Colocolo, was distinguished for solidity and swift 
sailing. The fleet was commanded by an admiral of little judg 
ment and experience. 

Among the crew there were but few Chilenos : most of the 
men were Chilotes and French, English and American deserters. 
The officers commanding the ships were almost all Englishmen. 
The transport ships were heavily laden, some carrying troops, 
and others provisions. These provisions consisted of sesino 
(dried beef), chalonas (whole sheep dried), maize, potatoes, dried 
fruits and barley, together with hay for the horses. The em 
barkation of the horses was most clumsily managed : many were 
strangled in being hoisted up the ships sides, others slipped 
through their girths and were severely hurt by falling, and a con 
siderable number of the poor animals died before the ships left 
the port. Every morning we saw dozens of dead horses thrown 
over board. The continued lurching of the vessels in which the 
cavalry was embarked, bore evidence of the inconvenient situa 
tion of the horses between decks. 

At the beginning of July the whole squadron sailed for the 


harbor of Coquimbo, where the troops were decimated by the 

There prevailed in Chile a feeling very adverse to this cam 
paign ; so much so that most of the troops were embarked by 
force. I was standing on the muele when the Santiago battalion 
was shipped. The soldiers, who were in wretched uniforms, 
most of them wearing ponchos, and unarmed, were bound to 
gether two-and-two by ropes, and absolutely driven into the 

This war proved most unfortunate to Peru, a result which, 
however, cannot certainly be ascribed either to the courage of 
the enemy s troops or the judgment of their commanders. We 
shall presently see the circumstances which combined to secure 
triumph to the Chilenos. 

I and my fellow-voyagers were also sufferers by the war, our 
captain having imprudently announced his intention of selling the 
Edmond to the protector Santa Cruz, as she might jsasjly have- 
been transformed into an excellent corvette. She was a quick 
sailer, tight-built, carrying ten guns of moderate calibre, and she 
might easily have mounted ten more. 

The captain s intention having reached the knowledge of the 
Chilian government, the natural consequence was, that the port 
was closed, a measure deemed the more necessary inasmuch as 
an American captain was suspected of entertaining the design of 
selling his ship to the Peruvians. It was not until the fleet had 
had time to reach Peru, and the first blow was supposed to be 
struck, that the embargo was raised, and we obtained leave to 
depart. We lay in the port of Valparaiso five-and- forty days. 
To me the most annoying circumstance attending this delay was, 
that I could not absent myself from the port longer than twenty- 
four hours at a time, as the ship was constantly in readiness to 
get under weigh, as soon as we should receive permission jto 
sail, which was hourly expected. My excursions were, there 
fore, confined to the immediate neighborhood of the town ; and 
even there my walks and rides were much impeded by constant 
stormy and rainy weather. 

On the 29th of July, preparations were made on board pur ship 
for celebrating the Paris revolution of 1830. At eight o clock 


in the morning we fired three guns, and the Edmond was soon 
decorated from her deck to her mast-heads with flags and stream 
ers. At the fore-mast gaily floated the Swiss flag, probably the 
first time it had ever been seen in the Pacific. When the guns 
on board the French ship-of-war had ceased firing, we began 
our salute ; but, as we had only ten guns, it was necessary to 
load a second time. Our seamen, being unused to this kind of 
duty, did not observe due precaution, and the consequence was 
that one of them had his hand so dreadfully shattered that im 
mediate amputation was indispensable. The day s rejoicing was 
thus suddenly brought to a melancholy close. 

The mole in front of the custom-house is exceedingly danger 
ous ; so much so, that, during the prevalence of stormy north 
winds, it is impossible to pass along it. From the shore a sort 
of wooden jetty stretches into the sea, at the distance of about 
sixty paces. This jetty has been sometimes partially, and at 
other times completely, destroyed by the waves. The harbor 
master s boats, and those belonging to the ships-of-war, land on 
the right side ; the left side is allotted to the boats of the mer 
chant ships. On the shore there are always a number of boats 
ready to convey persons who wish to go on board the different 
ships. Each boat is generally rowed by two Indians. When 
ever any person approaches the shore he is beset by the boatmen, 
who throng round him, and alternately, in English and Spanish, 
importune him with the questions, " Want a boat ?" " Vamos 
a bordo ?" 

Day and night, parties of custom-house officers go round the 
port for the purpose of preventing smuggling. In this, however, 
they only partially succeed ; for they detect only petty smug 
glers, whilst those who carry on contraband trade on a large 
scale elude their vigilance. The captains of French vessels are 
notorious for this kind of traffic, and they frequently succeed in 
landing vast quantities of goods surreptitiously. 

The police of Valparaiso is probably as good as it is in any 
part of South America. Serenos (watchmen) perambulate the 
streets on foot and on horseback, and continually give signals one 
to another by blowing small whistles. For personal safety there 
is little risk, probably not more than in the most populous cities 


of Europe. It is true that nocturnal murders sometimes take 
place ; but the police speedily succeed in capturing the crimi 
nals, who, after a summary trial, are shot. 

In Valparaiso, as in most of the towns on the western coast of 
South America, the serenos go about all night, calling the hours 
and announcing the state of the weather. At ten o clock they 
commence with their " Viva Chile /" " Ave Maria purissi- 
ma /" Las diez han dado y sereno /" (past ten o clock and a fine 
night !) or nublado (cloudy), or lloviendo (raining). Thus, they 
continue calling every half-hour till four o clock in the morning. 
Should an earthquake take place it is announced by the sereno 
when he goes his round in the following half hour. However, 
the phenomenon usually announces itself in so positive a way, 
that the inhabitants may easily dispense with the information of 
the serenos. 

Among the most remarkable objects in Valparaiso may be num 
bered the moveable prison. It consists of a number of large 
covered wagons, not unlike those used for the conveyance of wild 
beasts. In the inside of each wagon, planks are fixed up like 
the board bedsteads in a guard-house, affording resting-places for 
eight or ten prisoners. A guard is stationed at the door, which 
is at the back of the wagon ; and in the front a sort of kitchen 
is constructed. These wagons are drawn by the prisoners 
themselves, who are for the most part destined to work in the 
streets and roads, and, accordingly, they take their prison with 
them when they are ordered to any considerable distance from 
the town. To a country in which there may be said to be no 
winter, this sort of nomad prison is exceedingly well-suited, and 
the prisoners may be conveyed from place to place at very little 

I went into some of these moveable prisons, and I must confess 
that I never beheld such an assemblage of ill-looking faces as 
were collected within them. In the countenances of some of the 
prisoners unbridled passion and degrading sensuality were so 
plainly and so odiously portrayed, that one shuddered to reflect 
that such features could be arTmcTex of the human mind. Most 
Df them were Creole Indians.; but there were a few Europeans 
among them. To me it was melancholy to behold the European, 


who might be supposed to possess some little share of education, 
mounting the prison steps chained to his fellow-criminal, the un 
civilized Chileno. 

In Valparaiso, as in all seaports, there is a heterogeneous mix 
ture of different countries, nations, languages, and manners, 
amidst which the national character of the country is entirely 
lost. The trade in European goods is very extensive, but almost 
exclusively in the hands of a few great North American and Eng 
lish houses, who supply the whole country with the articles they 
import. At times, such is the overstock of importations, that 
goods are sold at lower prices in Valparaiso than in Europe. 
The warehouses are so filled with some sorts of merchandise, 
that without any fresh supplies there would be sufficient for some 
years to come. 

Among the clerks in the mercantile houses I met with a great 
number of Germans, who all maintain an intimate association 
with each other. They have formed themselves into a union, 
and they have a very commodious place in which they hold their 
meetings. Following their example, the English have united 
together and established several clubs. The French have not 
gained any considerable footing in this part of South America, 
in which there are scarcely two French mercantile houses of 
any consequence. On the other hand, there is abundance of 
French hairdressers, tailors, shoemakers, jewellers, confection 
ers, and Chevaliers d Industrie. Neither is there any want of 
Modistes Parisiennes et Borddaiscs. 

Valparaiso is yearly increasing in extent and in the numbers 
of its inhabitants ; but the town makes little improvement in 
beauty. That quarter which is built along the Quebradas is cer 
tainly susceptible of no improvement, owing to the unfavorable 
locality, and it is only the newly-built houses on the heights that 
impart to the town anything like a pleasing aspect. In laying 
out buildings in a place like Valparaiso, the aid of art should 
make amends for the defects of nature. My visits to Valparaiso 
did not produce a very favorable impression on me. The ex 
clusively mercantile occupations of the inhabitants, together with 
the poverty of the adjacent country, leave little to interest the 
attention of a mere transient visitor. The case may be differ- 


ent with persons who, having longer time than I had to stay in 
the town, may enjoy opportunities of entering into society, and 
occasionally visiting the pleasant valley of Quillota and the in 
teresting capital Santiago. 

The latter is thirty leagues distant from the port ; but a very 
active communication is kept up between the two places, and 
better roads would, no doubt, increase the intercourse. A few 
years ago the roads were very unsafe ; but now the journey 
may be performed without danger if the tiirlockeros (coach- 
drivers) are in the least degree careful. 

The zoology of the neighborhood of Valparaiso is not very in 
teresting, though more so along the sea-shore than in parts 
further inland. Among the Mammalia are sometimes seen the 
fox (Canis Azar&, Wild.), and the pole-cat. In the immediate 
vicinity of the town a very large mouse is seen in the burrows 
of the ground ; it is of the eight-toothed species (Octodon Cum- 
mingii, Benn.), and has a brush-formed tail. As the fields round 
Valparaiso are not cultivated these animals do no harm, other 
wise they would be the plague of agriculture, and probably are 
so in the interior parts of the country. Now and then a sea-dog 
may be observed in the bay ; but the whale is seldom seen, and 
whenever one appears he is immediately killed, as there is 
always a whaler at anchor and not far off. 

In the market, live condors are frequently sold. These birds 
are caught in traps. A very fine one may be purchased for a 
dollar and a half. I saw eight of these gigantic birds secured in 
a yard in a very singular manner. A long narrow strap of 
leather was passed through the nostrils of the bird and firmly 
knotted at one end, whilst the other end was fastened to a 
wooden or iron peg fixed in the ground. By this means the 
motion of the bird was not impeded : it could walk within the 
range of a tolerably wide circle ; but on attempting to fly it fell 
to the ground head foremost. It is no trifling matter to provide 
food for eight condors ; for they are among the most ravenous 
of birds of prey. The owner of those I saw assured me that, by 
way of experiment, he had given a condor, in the course of one 
day, eighteen pounds of meat (consisting of the entrails of oxen) ; 
that the bird devoured the whole, and ate his allowance on the 


following day with as good an appetite as usual. I measured a 
very large male condor, and the width from the tip of one wing 
to the tip of the other was fourteen English feet and two inches 
an enormous expanse of wing, not equalled by any other bird 
except the white albatross . (D/onicdea cxulans, Linn.). The 
snipes ( Scolopax frenata, III.) found on the little plain between 
the bay and the light-house are in color precisely like those of 
Europe, from which, however, they differ in having two more 
feathers in their tails. Small green parrots, little bigger than 
finches, are tamed and brought to Valparaiso from the interior 
of the country. These parrots are very docile, and are easily 
taught to speak ; but they cannot endure cold, and require to be 
tended with very great care. In the bay itself there are nume 
rous cormorants, and occasionally penguins and large flights of 
the cut- water or shear-bill (Rhynchops nigra, Linn.). The lat 
ter is distinguished by a sharp-pointed bill closing laterally, the 
under mandible being about double the length of the upper one. 
But the most beautiful bird in the bay of Valparaiso is the ma 
jestic swan (Cygnus nigricollis, Mol.), whose body is of dazzling 
white, whilst the head and neck are black. 

On the 13th of August we at length obtained leave to sail. 
Early on the morning of the 14th we weighed anchor ; and, as 
we sailed out of the Bay of Valparaiso, the summit of Aconcagua 
soon disappeared in the blue horizon. 



Juan Fernandez Robinson Crusoe Passage to Callao San Lorenzo 
Rise and fall of the coast Mr. Darwin s opinions on this subject 
Callao The Fortress Siege by the Spaniards General Rodil Siege 
by the Chilians The Colocolo Pirates Zoology Road to Lima. 

WITH a favorable east wind we reached, in thirty-six hours, the 
island of Juan Fernandez, which lies in the latitude of Valpa 
raiso. Ships from Europe, bound to Peru, which do not go into 
Chile, usually touch at Juan Fernandez to test their chronome 
ters. It consists in fact of three islands, forming a small com 
pact group. Two of them, in accordance with the Spanish 
names, may be called the Inward Island and the Outward Island, 
for the most easterly is called Mas a Tierra (more to the main 
land), that to the west is called Mas a Fuera (more towards the 
offing). That to the south, which is almost a naked rock, is the 
Isia de Lobos, which we may call Sea-dog Island. The two 
first are covered with grass and trees. Mas a Tierra is much 
longer, and better suited for cultivation than Mas a Fuera. In 
form the two islands have a striking resemblance to Flores and 
Cordua, islands of the group of the Azores. Until within these 
twenty years, Mas a Tierra was the place of exportation for 
convicts from Chile ; but as it was found that the facility of 
escape is great, none are now sent there. In 1812 a number of 
prisoners of war were confined there, but the rats, which had 
increased in an extraordinary degree, consumed all the provi 
sions sent from Chile. Several fruitless attempts- have been 
made to populate the island, but that object is now given up, and 
it is only occasionally visited by sea-dog hunters. Ulloa speaks 
of the great number of sea-calves or dogs with which the island 
was frequented, and distinguishes kinds which belong to the 
short-eared species. Their skins are excellent, and they sell at 
a good price in England. Wild goats are numerous, and their 


propagation would be excessive were it not for the multitude of 
dogs, also wild, by which they are destroyed. 

There is yet another kind of interest attached to Juan Fer 
nandez. It was on Mas a Tierra that, in 1704, the celebrated 
English navigator, Dampier, landed his coxswain, Alexander 
Selkirk, with whom he had quarrelled, and left him there with a 
small quantity of provisions, and a few tools. Selkirk had lived 
four years and four months on this uninhabited island, when he 
was found there by the bucaneers Woods and Rogers, and 
brought back to Europe. From the notes which he made during 
his solitary residence, the celebrated Daniel Defoe composed his 
incomparable work, ROBINSON CRUSOE. 

The weather continued favorable, and in about a week we 
doubled the west point of San Lorenzo Island, where some 
Chilian cruizers were watching the coast. We soon entered the 
fine bay of Callao, and cast anchor in the harbor of the Ciudad 
de los Reyes. While rounding the island, an American corvette 
spoke us. She had left Valparaiso on the same day with us, and 
sailed also through the strait between San Lorenzo and the 
main land ; yet, during the whole passage, we never saw each 

No signals were exchanged between us and the shore, and no 
port-captain came on board. We were exceedingly anxious to 
know the issue of the Chilian expedition. Hostile ships of war 
lay off the port, but the Peruvian flag waved on the fort. At 
last a French naval cadet came on board, and informed us that 
the Chilians had landed successfully, and had taken Lima by 
storm two days previously. They were, at that moment, be 
sieging the fortress. We immediately went on shore. 

The town presented a melancholy aspect. The houses and 
ptreets were deserted. .In all Callao we scarcely met a dozen 
persons, and the most of those we saw were negroes. Some of 
the inhabitants came gradually back, but in the course of a month 
scarcely a hundred had returned, and for safety they slept 
during the night on board merchant ships in the bay. At the 
village of Bella Vista, a, quarter of a mile from Callao, the 
Chilians had erected their batteries for bombarding the fortress. 
As it was difficult to obtain provisions, the commanders of the 


foreign ships of war sent every morning a small detachment cf 
sailors with a steward to Bella Vista, to purchase meat and vege 
tables. The merchant-ships joined in the practice, so that early 
every morning a long procession of boats with flags flying pro 
ceeded to the Chilian camp. But a stop was soon put to this, as 
an English butcher in Callao found means to go with the boats for 
the purpose of purchasing large quantities of meat, which he af 
terwards sold at an immense profit, to the fortress. Though the 
besieged did not suffer from want, they were far from having 

Having sufficient time to make myself acquainted with the 
country in the immediate vicinity of Callao, I took advantage of 
every opportunity for excursions ; going from place to place by 
water, which was more safe than journeying by land. 

The bay of Callao is one of the largest and calmest on the 
west coast of South America. On the south-west, it is bounded 
by the sterile island of San Lorenzo ; on the north it flows into 
the creeks, which are terminated by the Punta Gorda, the Punta 
Pernal, the Punta de dos Playas, and the Punta de Dona Pancha. 
The beach is flat, for the most part shingly, and about the mouth 
of the Rimac, somewhat marshy. Between the mouth of the 
Rimac and that of the Rio de Chillon, which is a little southward 
of the Punta Gorda, there is a tract of rich marshy soil. A 
small boot-shaped tongue of land stretches from the fortress west 
ward to San Lorenzo. On this spot are the ruins of old Callao. 

San Lorenzo is a small, long-shaped island, about 15 English 
miles in circumference. It is intersected throughout its whole 
length by a ridge of sharp crested hills, of which the highest 
point is about 1387 feet above the level of the sea. On the 
north-eastern side, the declivity is less steep than on the south 
west, where it descends almost perpendicularly into the sea. 
Seals and sea-otters inhabit the steep rocks of the southern de 
clivity, and swarms of sea-birds nestle on the desolate shore. 
San Lorenzo is separated on the southern side by a narrow strait, 
from a small rocky island called El Fronton, which is also the 
abode of numerous seals. 

The coasts of Callao and San Lorenzo have undergone very 
remarkable changes within a few centuries. Mr. Danvin, the 


English geologist, is of opinion that this part of Peru has risen 
eighty-five feet since it lias had human inhabitants. On the 
north-eastern declivity of San Lorenzo, which is divided into 
three indistinctly marked terraces, there are numbers of shells 
of those same species of conchylioe which are at the present time 
found living on the coast. On an accurate examination of these 
shells, Mr. Darwin found many of them deeply corroded. " They 
have," he says, " a much older and more decayed appearance 
than those at the height of 500 or 600 feet on the coast of Chile. 
These shells are associated with much common salt, a little sul 
phate of lime (both probably left by the evaporation of the spray, 
as the land slowly rose), together with sulphate of soda, and 
muriate of lime. The rest are fragments of the underlying 
sand-stone, and are covered by a few inches thick of detritus. 
The shells higher up on this terrace could be traced scaling off 
in flakes, and falling into an impalpable powder ; and on an upper 
terrace, at the height of 170 feet, and likewise at some consider 
ably higher points, I found a layer of saline powder, of exactly 
similar appearance, and lying in the same relative position. 1 
have no doubt that the upper layer originally existed on a bed of 
shells, like that on the eighty-five feet ledge, but it does not now 
contain even a trace of organic structure."* Mr. Darwin adds, 
that on the terrace, which is eighty-five feet above the sea, he 
found embedded amidst the shells and much sea-drifted rubbish, 
some bits of cotton thread, plaited rush, and the head of a stalk 
of Indian corn. 

San Lorenzo does not appear to have been inhabited in very 
early ages. The fragments of human industry which have been 
found mixed in the shells have probably been brought thither by 
fishermen who visit the island, and often pass the night on it. 

Darwin further remarks : " It has been stated that the land 
subsided during this memorable shock (in 1746) : I could not dis 
cover any proof of this ; yet it seems far from improbable, for 
the form of the coast must certainly have undergone some change 
since the foundation of the old town," &c. " On the island of 
San Lorenzo there are very satisfactory proofs of elevation 

* Natural History and Geology of the countries visited by the Beagle. 


within a recent period ; this, of course, is not opposed to the 
belief of a small sinking of the ground having subsequently 
taken place." 

But satisfactory evidence of the sinking of the coast is not to 
be obtained in a visit of a few weeks duration ; nor must that 
evidence rest solely on geological facts, though doubtless they 
furnish much important data. History must aid the inquiry. 
Tradition and the recollections of old persons must be attended 
to. According to these authorities, a change more or less consi 
derable has taken place in the level of the coast, after every 
great earthquake. If we refer to the account given by Ulloa, 
and compare the plan of the harbor of Callao, drawn by him in 
1742, with the most correct modern charts, we do not find much 
difference in the representations of the distance between the 
main-land and San Lorenzo. Four years afterwards the great 
earthquake occurred, which destroyed the city of Callao, and 
plunged it into the sea. Subsequently there was a rising of the 
coast, which could not be inconsiderable, for according to the 
statements of old inhabitants of Callao, the distance from- the 
coast to San Lorenzo was so inconsiderable that boys used to 
throw stones over to the island. At present the distance is nearly 
two English miles. I have no doubt of the general correctness 
of those statements, for a careful investigation of facts leads to 
the same conclusion ; so that within the last sixty or seventy 
years the sinking must have been considerable. It must be ob 
served, however, that the ruins on the small tongue of land are 
not, as Darwin supposes, the remains of the city of Callao, swal 
lowed up by the sea in 1746, but of the Callao which was de 
stroyed by the great earthquake of 1630. 

Another proof of the sinking exists in the extensive shallow 
between the coast of the main-land and San Lorenzo, called the 
Camotal. In early times this shallow was dry land, producing 
vegetables, in particular Camotes (sweet potatoes), whence the 
name of this portion of the strait is derived. The inundation 
took place in the time of the Spaniards, but before 1746, either 
in the great earthquake of 1687, or in that of 1630. 

Northward of the Bay of Callao, near the plantation of Boca 
Negra, there is a shallow, where, according to records, there ex- 


isted a sugar plantation about fifty years ago. Turning to the 
south of Callao, in the direction of Lurin, we find, at the distance 
of about two English miles from the coast, two islands or rocks, 
of which one is called Pachacamac, and the other Santa Domin 
go. At the time of the Spanish invasion these rocks were con- 
nected with the main-land, and formed a promontory. On one 
of them stood a temple or castle. At what period they were 
detached from the coast I have not been able to ascertain authen- 
tically ; but there appears reason to suppose that the separation 
took place during the violent earthquake of 1586. Attentive 
investigations to the north of Callao at Chancay, Huacho, Ba- 
ranca, &c., would probably bring to light further evidence on this 

Between the facts stated by Mr. Darwin and those here ad- 
duced, there is considerable discrepancy. On the one hand they 
denote a rising, and on the other a sinking. But it may be asked, 
might not both these phenomena have occurred at different times ?* 
Mr. Darwin s opinion respecting the still-continued rising of the 
coast does not appear to me to rest on satisfactory evidence. 
The relics of human industry which he found embedded among 
shells, at the height of eighty-five feet above the sea, only prove 
that the elevation has taken place after the land was inhabited 
by the human race, but do not mark the period at which that 
elevation occurred. Pieces of cotton thread and plaited rush are 
no proofs of a very refined degree of civilisation, such as the 
Spaniards brought with them to Peru, and cannot therefore be 
taken as evidence that the elevation took place at any period 
subsequent to the conquest. Garcilaso de la Vega traces the 
dynasty of the Incas down to the year 1021, a period when the 
inhabitants of the coast of Peru were tolerably well advanced 
in civilisation. Fernando Montesinos furnishes facts connected 
with the history of Peru, of several thousand years earlier date ; 
and, judging from the number of dynasties, the nature of the 
laws, &c., it may be inferred that civilisation existed at a period 

* Mr. Darwin, in the work just quoted, says in reference to this subject, 
" Since our voyage, Dr. Tschudi has come to the conclusion, by the com 
parison of old and modern maps, that the earth both north and south of 
Lima has certainly subsided." T. 


of even more remote antiquity. It cannot therefore be deter, 
mined with any accuracy at what time the deposit at San Lo 
renzo, now eighty-five feet high, was level with the sea, or 
whether the rise suddenly followed one of those frightful cata 
strophes which have so often visited the western coast of South 
America. Then, again, the different degrees of decay presented 
by the beds of shells seem to indicate that the rising has been 
gradual ; and it may have been going on for thousands of years. 
Had the coast risen eighty-five feet since the Spanish conquest 
that is to say, within the space of three hundred and sixty -two 
years the Camotal would long since have again risen above the 
surface of the sea ; for it is very improbable that it sank to a 
depth exceeding ninety or ninety-five feet. It is evident that 
risings and sinkings have occurred at various times, and that 
causes contingent on earthquakes have produced the variations 
in the rising and falling of the coast. 

It is probable that the accurate sounding of the depth of water 
in the Camotal, at stated intervals, would furnish the best means 
of ascertaining the rising and sinking of the coast. A variety 
of circumstances combine to favor the practicability of calculation 
by this method. For example, no river flows into that part of 
the bay in which the Camotal is situated. The Rimac, whose 
mouth lies further to the north, is not sufficiently large to carry 
any considerable deposit into the bed of the bay : moreover, there 
is but little tide, and the bay is always calm, being sheltered on 
the south by the island of San Lorenzo, and north breezes are 
rare and never violent. 

I may here mention a singular phenomenon which has in latter 
times often occurred at Callao, and which, in 1841, 1 had myself 
the opportunity of observing. About two in the morning the 
sea flowed from the shore with greater force than in the strongest 
ebb ; the ships farthest out were left dry, which is never the case 
in an ebb tide. The alarm of the inhabitants was great when 
the sea rushed instantly back with increased force. Nothing 
could withstand its fury. Meanwhile there was no commotion 
of the earth, nor any marked change of temperature. 

In the earthquake }f 174G Callao was completely overwhelmed 
by the sea. Several travellers have related that on calm days 


with a clear sky the old town may be seen beneath the waves. 
I have also heard the same story from inhabitants of Callao. It 
is doubtless a mere fable. Under the most favorable circum 
stances I have often examined the spot the Mar brava, as it is 
called without being able to discover a trace of the ruins of old 

The existing town of Callao is small, and by no means pleas 
ant. In winter it is damp and dirty, and in summer so dusty 
that in passing through the streets one is almost choked. Most 
of the houses are very slightly built, and they are usually only 
one story high. The walls are constructed of reeds, plastered 
over with loam or red clay. All the roofs are flat, being made 
of straw mats laid on a frame-work of reeds, which is also 
plastered with loam on the under side. The windows are in J.he 
roof, and consist of wooden trap-doors, which look very much 
like bird-cages. They have no glass panes, but gratings made 
of wooden spars. On the inside~~fhere is a window-shutter, and 
a string hangs down into the apartment, by means of which the 
shutter can be opened or closed. 

The most interesting object seen in Callao is the splendid 
fortress. Though built on a flat surface close to the sea, it has 
a magnificent appearance. It consists of two castles, the largest 
of which the Spaniards named Real Filippe, but since the Revo 
lution it is called Castillo de la Independencia. It has two round 
towers, wide, but not very high. The court-yards are spacious. 
The walls are thick, rather low, and surrounded by a ditch, 
which can be filled with water from the sea. To the south of 
this castle there is a smaller one, called El Castillo del Sol. 
Before the War of Independence they mounted both together 
four hundred pieces of cannon, many of which were of very 
large calibre. At present they have only sixty pieces of can 
non and seventy-one carronades. 

On the fortress of Callao the Spanish flag waved long after 
independence was declared in all the countries of Spanish South 
America. The Spanish general, Rodil, threw himself into the 
castle, and with wonderful resolution held out against a siege of 
a year and a half. During the last three months the Spaniards 



suffered all the privations and miseries which a besieged army 
must endure within the tropics. 

Lord Cochrane blockaded the fortress by sea, and General 
Bartolome Salom drew up his army on the land side. More than 
4,000 Spaniards fled to the castle with all their valuable pro 
perty, and took refuge under RodiPs protection. The greater 
part of the fugitives belonged to the principal families of the 
country. When provisions began to fail, the commandant found 
it necessary to expel 400 women, and one morning they issued 
forth in a long line of procession. The besiegers supposed that 
the enemy was making a sortie, and directed the fire of their 
artillery against the helpless beings, who, uttering loud shrieks, 
attempted to save themselves by flight. As soon as the mistake 
was discovered the firing stopped, and the women were conveyed 
to Lima. Insurrections were several times attempted by the gar 
rison of Callao ; but the presence of mind and cool resolution of 
Rodil m every instance enabled him to suppress these mutinies. 
The guilty were punished with so much severity that the sol 
diers soon gave up all further attempts. Horses, asses, dogs and 
cats, became at length the food of the besieged. Rodil at this 
time carried on a traffic which does no honor to his character. 
He had a quantity of provisions stored, which he now sold at 
immense prices. For a fowl he got from three to four gold oun 
ces. He demanded proportional prices for bread, &c. A con 
tagious fever broke out, and, of more than 4000 persons who had 
taken refuge in the fortress, only about 200 survived the siege. 
Hunger and disease at last obliged Rodil to yield. On the 19th 
of February, 1826, he obtained an honorable capitulation, and 
embarked with his acquired wealth for Spain, where he was in 
vested with the rank of commander-in-chief of the infantry 

Since the independence of Peru this fortress has often been the 
seat of partial revolutions. Its death-doom has been pronounced 
by different governments, and it will be a fortunate event for 
the country when it ceases to exist as a place of warlike defence. 
It has lately been found useful for other purposes, and a great 
portion of its vast space has been converted into custom-house 


The siege of Callao by the Chilians, of which we were eye 
witnesses, was by no means such a serious affair as that under- 
taken by the patriots. The squadron was weak, and the land 
army inconsiderable. Callao was only cannonaded during the 
night by some Chilian gun-boats commanded by Englishmen. 
The artillery of the castle was inefficient, but the Chilian bombs 
did considerable damage. One Sunday afternoon the little 
Chilian brig, " Colocolo," sailed in close under the walls of the 
fortress, and threw in some shot. The fire was immediately re 
turned by all the guns that could be directed to the sea-side ; 
but in vain did the Peruvians epend their shot. Every ball 
went over the "Colocolo," and fell among the neutral ships. 
The commander of the French squadron then sent a boat to the 
fortress, with a declaration that he would attack it in good ear 
nest if the fire was not discontinued. The message had due 

A few days after the affair with the " Colocolo," the Peru 
vians had an opportunity of avenging the provocations they had 
received. The Chilian admiral sent an officer, with seven sail 
ors, to our ship to purchase shoes. The garrison having observ 
ed the Chilian boat, sent out a shallop with twenty-five men, 
which came close alongside of us. In spite of our opposition the 
Chilian officer leaped into his boat and stood off. He was, how 
ever, too late; for, just as he was leaving the ship s side, the 
hostile shallop passed under our bowsprit, and fired a volley into 
the Chilian boat. Five sailors fell into the sea, either killed or 
wounded. Of three men picked up, one was the officer, who 
had received two wounds from musket balls. We saved one of 
the wounded sailors by throwing him a rope, by which we pulled 
him up, covering him with the French flag. 

The Peruvians had no longer a fleet strong enough to keep at 
sea ; but soon after their government purchased the " Edmond," 
and some other merchantmen, and fitted them up as privateers. 
The command was given to M. Blanchet, who had been firs*, 
pilot of the " Edmond" during our voyage from Europe. After 
he had taken the " Arequipena," an old Chilian ship of war, and 
burnt several transports, he attacked three Chilian corvettes in 
the harbor of Casma. They had already struck their flags, 


when Blanchet was shot while boarding one of them. His loss 
damped the courage of the Corsairs, and the contest was soon 
given up. The shock of Blanchet s death had such an effect on 
the crew of the " Edmond," that they all went down between 
decks in great grief, except* the cook, who fired a gun he had 
charged to the brim, and killed some men who were on a bow 
sprit of one of the hostile vessels. He then sprang to the helm, 
and steered the ship safely into one of the inlets of the bay. 

The lover of natural history finds in the bay of Callao nume 
rous opportunities for gratifying his curiosity. The mammalia 
are not very numerous. Sea otters and sea dogs are found there, 
as on all parts of the South American coast. Two species (the 
Otaria aurita, Humb., and the O. Ulloce, Tsch.) inhabit the 
southern declivity of the Fronton. I went to hunt seals on the 
rock with the officers of a French ship of war. When we land 
ed, which was difficult on account of the breakers, we fired at 
the animals and killed a number of them. A sailor waded 
through the breakers and bound the dead seals with a rope, by 
which he drew them on board. As we shot a great number of 
birds, the Chilian admiral, on hearing the firing, thought that one 
of his ships must be engaged with the Peruvian Corsairs ; and, 
therefore, sent out the " San Lorenzo" brig of war to see what 
was going on. 

The bay abounds in fine water- fowl. Amongst the most re 
markable is Humboldt s penguin (Spheniscus Humboldti, Mey.). 
A few are smaller than the common grey penguin, and one is 
somewhat different in color on the back and breast. The Pe 
ruvians call it Paxaro nino (the child bird). It is easily tamed, 
becomes very social, and follows its master like a dog. It^is 
amusing to see it waddling along with its plump body and short 
legs, and keeping itself in equilibrium by moving its floating 
wings. I had one completely tame, which I bought from an 
Indian. It was named Pepe, and it answered readily to the 
name. When I was at my meals he regularly placed himself 
beside my chair, and at night he slept under my bed. When 
he wished to bathe he went into the kitchen and beat with his 
bill on an earthen pan until somebody threw water over him, or 
brought him a vessel full of water for a bath. 


I brought away a few of the marine birds which appeared the 
most remarkable. Among them was the banded cormorant 
(Carbo Gaimardi, Less.). On the back it is grey, marbled by 
white spots ; the belly is fine ash-grey, and on each side of the 
throat there runs a broad white stripe or band. The bill is 
yellow and the feet are red. The iris is peculiar ; I never saw 
its like in any other bird. It changes throughout the whole cir 
cle in regular square spots, white and sea-green. Thousands of 
the spotted gannet (Sula variegata. Tsch.) inhabit the rocks of 
the island of San Lorenzo. This bird is the greatest producer 
of guano. The inca tern (Slema luca, Less.) is without doubt 
the finest of the whole tern family. The color of the head is 
brown-grey ; getting darker towards the tail, and brighter on 
the lower body. From the root of the bill on either side there 
shoot out some white feathers slightly curving, so that they give 
the appearance of white moustachios. Among the land biids 
are some very fine colibri (Trochilus Amazilia, and Tr. Cora, 
Less.). The horse-protector (Crotophoga sulcala, Swains.) is a 
singular animal. It is about the size of a starling, with a short, 
compressed and curved bill, having several deep furrows along 
its sides. The tail is long and fan-shaped. The whole body is 
of a deep blue color, with a slight metallic brightness. The 
bird is very social with cattle of all kinds, and more particularly 
with horses. It is fond of perching on the back of a horse or an 
ass, and searching for insects which it finds there in abundance. 
These animals are very sensible of the service thus rendered to 
them, and by the manner in which they move about when the 
bird is perched on their heads or necks, show how much they are 
gratified by its presence. 

Foreigners, when they visit the coast of Peru for the first time, 
are much surprised at the immense number of birds of the vul 
ture species which they meet with about the roads and on 
the roofs of the houses. In Callao and in all other ports the 
Turkey vulture (Cathartes aura, Illig.) is frequently seen. It is 
called by the Spaniards Gallinazo a cabeza colorada (red-headed 
vulture). Further in the interior of the country it is frequently 
seen, though there it is less common than the black gallinazo 
(Catharies fveiens, Illig.). The color of the former is dart 


brownish-black ; the unplumed head and throat are red ; the 
throat is full of wrinkles and warts. The latter is very like it 
in size and color, only the head and neck are greyish black. 
These birds are the size of a turkey-cock ; but they are lanker 
and more angular in form. The black-headed gallinazo is inac 
tive, heavy, and seldom flies far. When seeking food he hops 
about on the ground in short, regular springs. When he wishes 
to move faster forwards he helps himself with his wings, but with 
out flying. Its cry is seldom heard and never long continued. 
At noon, sometimes from sixty to eighty of these birds perch 
themselves on the tops of the houses or on the adjoining walls, 
and with the heads under the wing they all go to roost. They 
are extremely voracious, and devour every sort of animal sub 
stance they can find, however filthy it may be. They are not 
in the least degree shy, for they hop about among men and cat. 
tie in the most populous places. The Turkey vulture is far 
more lively, and its movements are more light. It flies faster, 
and continues longer on the wing than the black-headed gallina 
zo. It is, however, more timid. It nestles in sandy rocks and 
uninhabited islands. The female lays three or four whitish 
eggs, which are hatched in February and March. The common 
gallinazo usually builds its nest on the tops of houses, churches, 
ruins, and high walls. The female lays three or four eggs, 
which are whitish brown and speckled, and are hatched in the 
same months as the eggs of the Turkey vulture. 

Among the amphibia in Callao, the iguana and land agama 
are numerous. Snakes abound in the low bushes at the mouth 
of the Rimac, and some kinds, which are venomous, live on the 
arid sand-banfcs. All fhe sea tortoises have been driven out of 
the bay, and now inhabit the detached creeks of the uninhabited 
parts of the coast. 

The kinds of fish are numerous. Sharks, rays, ballancers, 
corvinas, bonitos, &c., are caught in abundance. Most of the 
corvinas and bonitos are carried to market. The flesh of the 
latter is firm, dry, and less savory than the corvina. The 
Pexe-rey (king-fish) is superior in flavor to the Pexe-sapo (toad- 
fish),~which is a little larger, and has a thick, fleshy head. These 


fish arc taken on rocks and under water, where they are struck 
by a kind of harpoon hooks and drawn out. 

When, on board the " Edmond," I first saw the towers of 
Liina gilded by the beams of the setting sun, and the chains of 
hills behind, rising by gradations, until in the farthest back 
ground they blended with the cloud-capped Cordilleras, I felt 
an inexpressible desire to advance towards those regions, that I 
might breathe the air of the Andes, and there behold nature 
under her wildest aspect. But these wishes were vain, and I was 
compelled to turn again to the desolate ocean ; for it was under 
stood that our further voyage must be towards the north, and from 
there that we should proceed to the coast of Asia. I did not then 
foresee that my longing might be fulfilled, and that so much of 
enjoyment, together with so much toil and danger, awaited me in 
the mountainous regions of Peru. 

Notwithstanding the insecurity of the road to Lima I resolved to 
proceed thither. Carriages and horses were not to be procured 
in Callao, for the latter were all either seized for the service of the 
government or concealed. I could therefore travel only on foot. 
Don Manuel de la Guarda, the commander of the fortress, ob 
served, whilst giving me a passport, that he would advise me to 
use speed, and to get as soon as possible out of the range of the 
guns, for he expected every moment to be obliged to order the 
firing to commence. I did not neglect to follow his advice. 
However I had not got more than a hundred paces from the castle 
when the artillery began to play, and balls fell around on every 
side. I quickened my pace, and soon got near some fences, where 
men were firing with muskets. There I was seized by some 
Chilian cuirassiers, who sent me forward from post-to post, until 
at last in one of the posts I met with an officer with whom I had 
been acquainted in Chile. When I was dining one day on board 
the corvette Confederacion in the bay of Valparaiso, the young offi 
cer whom I have just alluded to sat next me. The conversation 
happening to turn on phrenology, he insisted on my examining 
his head, and pronouncing a phrenological diagnosis on it. 
Though I assured him that I attached no value on this alleged 
science, he continued to urge me to make the examination. 
After feeling his head I observed to him, with great gravity : 


" Here is the organ of mathematics pretty well developed, and it 
is probable that you may distinguish yourself in that branch of 
knowledge." The fact was, I had observed from his uniform 
that he belonged to the artillery, and since I was obliged to say 
something, I thought it would be best to make my remarks refer 
to his profession. Don Antonio had not forgotten it, for as soon 
as he saw me at the outpost, he ran up to me quite overjoyed, 
and told me that I had judged rightly of his talent, for the guns 
which he commanded always sent their balls direct into the for 
tress, and did more execution than any other. By following my 
advice and cultivating his mathematical organ, he assured me, 
he was enabled to direct a gun better than any other officer, and 
his aim could always be relied on. He immediately procured 
me a pass, by which I was conducted all the remainder of my 

The distance from Callao to Lima is two Spanish leagues. 
The road is covered with deep sand, and on either side are un 
cultivated fields and low brushwood. After leaving Callao I 
came to Bella Vista, then to the ruins of an old Indian village, 
and farther on inland reached some plantations. Halfway be 
tween Callao and Lima is the convent of la Virgen del Carmen, 
and also a chapel. The convent is now abandoned, but in front 
of the chapel there constantly stands a monk, who begs for alms. 
Close to the convent there is a Tambo,* in which brandy, 
lemonade, and bananas are sold. This place, which is called 
La Legna, is a Spanish league from both towns. The hired 
horses are so used to put up at this place, that it is only with 
great trouble they can be got to pass it. 

Though much wearied by my journey on foot, I tried in vain 
to obtain some refreshment here. Unluckily the Tambero, a 
Zambo, had decamped, as his house had often been plundered. 

In the most oppressive heat I wandered over the shadeless 
plain, and at last reached the fine road called the Alameda del 
Callao, which extends from the Callao Gate of Lima to nearly 
half a league beyond the city. Don Ambrosio O Higgins, an 

* Tambo is an Indian word, signifying an Inn. Tambero means Inn* 


Irishman by birth, first a small shopkeeper in Lima, then a 
soldier in Chile, and finally viceroy of Peru, with the title of 
Marques de Osorno, built the fine Callao Gate and laid out the 
Alamcda. On the 6th of January, 1800, it was solemnly 
opened. The whole undertaking cost 340,964 dollars. Resting, 
places are made in the Alameda at regular distances ; and there 
arc on each side charming gardens, with luxuriant fruit-trees. 
Happy in having reached the end of my wearisome journey, I 
quickly passed through the Callao Gate, and entered the City of 
the Kings. 



Lima Situation and extent of the City Streets, Houses, Churches and 
Convents San Pedro The Jesuits Nunneries Beatarios hospitals 
San Andres The Foundling House The Pantheon The Palace The 
Plaza Mayor Pizarro The Cabildo Fountains Palace of the Inquisi 
tion The University National Library Museum of Natural History 
and Antiquities Academy of Design The Mint The Theatre Circus 
for Cock-fighting The Bridge The City Wall Santa Catalina 

LIMA is built on both banks of the river Rimac, which 
divides the town into two unequal parts.* The larger part (the 
town, properly so called) is situated on the southern bank of the 
river ; the smaller part, consisting of the suburb San Lazaro, or 
the fifth section, is on the northern bank. The greatest extent 
of Lima is from east to west ; from the Gate of Maravillas to the 
Monserrate. Between those two points the distance is 4471 
varas,f or two-thirds of a Legua, or Spanish league ; and the 
greatest breadth of the city, that is to say, from the Bridge (the 
suburb of San Lazaro not included) to the Gate of Guadalupe, is 
2515 varas, or two-fifths of a Legua. The utmost circumfer 
ence of Lima is about ten English miles. The plain on which 
the city is built, takes rather a decided slope from east to west. 

The streets of Lima intersect each other in right lines, and 
consequently groups of houses form quadrangles : these are called 
manzanas. Each side of one of these manzanas measures on the 
average from 140 to 145 varas ; and it may therefore be com 
puted that, collectively, they occupy a superficies of from 148,- 

* The city of Lima was founded by Don Francisco Pizarro on the Cth of 
January, 1534. As it was the day of the Epiphany, Lima received the 
title of Ciudad de los Reyes (City of the Kings). Historical records vary 
respecting the day and the year of the foundation of Lima ; but I have 
reason to believe that the date I have mentioned above is perfectly correct. 

f The Vara CasteUana is equal to 33 inches English measure 


000 to 160,000. There are in all 211 manzanas, of which those 
situated on the Periphery are the smallest and most irregularly 
constructed. Lima is divided into five sections, which are again 
subdivided into ten districts and forty-six Barrios. It contains 
about 3380 houses, 56 churches and convents (the latter occupy 
ing at least one-fourth of the superficies of the city), 34 squares 
or open areas in front of the churches, and 419 streets. On the 
average the streets are about 34 feet wide and 386 feet long. 
Most of them are very badly paved, but they have lateral foot 
paths. According to the original plan for building Lima, it was 
intended that all the streets should run in one direction, viz., 
from southeast to northwest, so that the walls of the houses might 
afford shade both morning and afternoon. Between the Plaza 
Mayor and Santa Clara this plan has been pretty uniformly car 
ried out ; but in other parts it has been less rigidly observed. 
At noon there can be no shade, as the city is situated in 12 of 
south latitude. 

The impression produced at first sight of Lima is by no means 
favorable, for the Periphery, the quarter which a stranger first 
enters, contains none but old, dilapidated, and dirty houses ; but 
on approaching the vicinity of the principal square, the place 
improves so greatly that the miserable appearance it presents at 
first sight is easily forgotten. 

Most of the houses in Lima are only one story high, and some 
have only the ground-floor. The larger class of houses corres 
pond one with another in the style of building. In front they 
have two doors : one is called the Azaguan, and is the principal 
entrance to the house ; and next to it is the door of the Cochera 
(coach-house). Either above the cochera door, or on one side of 
the house door, there is frequently a little chamber, having a 
window closed by a wooden railing. At this little railed window 
the ladies are accustomed to sit and watch the passers-by nor 
are they very much displeased when some of the latter occasion 
ally make free to reguardar la rcja (to look at the railing). The 
azaguan opens into a spacious court-yard called the Patio, on 
either side of which there are little rooms. Directly facing the 
azaguan, is the dwelling-house, round which there usually runs 
a balcony. Two large folding-doors lead into the Hall (Sala), 


in which the furniture consists of a sofa, a hammock, and a row 
of chairs : the floor is covered with straw matting. From the 
sala a glazed door opens into a smaller apartment, called the 
Cuadro, which is elegantly, often splendidly furnished, and the 
floor is carpeted. This is the room into which visitors are shown. 
Adjoining the cuadro are the sleeping-rooms, the dining-room, 
the nursery, &c. These apartments communicate with a second 
court-yard, called the Traspatio, the walls of which are often 
adorned with fresco paintings. TJhjs; Traspatio, a portion of 
which is usually laid out as a little-, garden, communicates with 
the kitchen and the stable (corral). A small avenue, called the 
callejon, forms a communication from the first to the second Patio, 
and is used as a passage for the horses. When there is no callt- 
jon, as is often the case in the poorer class of houses, the 
horses are led through the sala and the cuadro. In the upper 
story the arrangement of the rooms differs from that of the ground- 
floor. Above the azaguan is the cuadro, opening into a balcony, 
which is attached to most of the houses in Lima. The sala in 
the upper story forms an ante-room to the cuadro ; and the rest 
of the apartments are built above the ranges of ground-floor rooms 
on either side of the patio. Above the sala and cuadro of the 
ground-floor, there are no upper rooms. The roofs of those two 
apartments form a kind of large terrace called the Azotea, which 
is paved with freestone, and surrounded by a railing. This 
azotea serves as a play-ground for the children of the family ; it 
is ornamented with flower-pots, and covered with an awning to 
shade it from the sun. The upper story has a flat roof, composed 
of bamboos and mats, overspread with mortar or light tiles. In 
the houses of Lima, as in those of Callao, the windows of some 
of the rooms are made in the roofs. The other windows, of 
which there are but few, are on each side of the house door ; 
they are tastefully ornamented, and often have richly gilt lattices. 
The style of house-building here described must of course be 
taken merely as a general example ; that th( re are numerous 
deviations from it may naturally be supposed. In the large 
houses the walls are of brick, faced with ornamental tiles (adobes). 
In the smaller houses, the wails consist of double rows of bam- 
boos, covered with plaster, and afterwards painted white or yel 


low. The fronts of the houses are usually quite plain, but here 
and there may be seen a house with a finely ornamented facade. 
The house of Torre Tagle, near San Pedro, and some others, 
are remarkable for the beauty of their ornaments, which attract 
the notice of all strangers visiting Lima. 

Owing to the heat of the climate, the doors and windows are 
almost always kept open, so that the houses have not the privacy 
and comfort of European dwellings. 

Of the numerous churches and convents in Lima, some are 
deserving of particular mention. The cathedral occupies the 
whole eastern side of the Plaza Mayor. The foundation stone 
of this edifice was laid on the 18th of January, 1534, by Don 
Francisco Pizarro, who named it the Church of Nuestra Senora 
de la Asuncion. Ninety years elapsed before the building was 
completed, and on the 19th of October, 1625, it was consecrated 
by the Archbishop, Don Gonzalo de Ocampo. Such was the 
pomp observed at this ceremony, that, though mass commenced 
at six in the morning, it was five o clock in the afternoon before 
the host was raised. 

The interior of the cathedral is exceedingly beautiful. The 
grand altar is ornamented with seven Ionic columns of silver, 
twelve feet high, and one and a half thick, and is surmounted by 
a massive silver gilt crown. The tabernacle is seven feet and a 
half high, and composed of exquisitely wrought gold, set with a 
profusion of diamonds and emeralds. On each side of the altar 
there are massive silver candelabra, each weighing four and a 
half arobas (712^ pounds). On high festival days, the gorgeous 
splendor of the cathedral of Lima probably exceeds that of the 
principal churches in Rome. The robes and ornaments worn by 
the priests correspond with the magnificence of the altar ; they 
are embroidered in gold, and set with precious stones. The ca 
thedral service is performed by the canons (Canonigos). 

Among the Churches of Lima, San Lazaro is distinguished for 
its tasteful exterior, and the chaste simplicity of its internal de 
coration. The bodies of persons unknown, found dead in the 
streets, are conveyed to the door of the church of San Lazaro, 
and there exposed for the space of twenty-four hours. 

The convent of San Francisco, the largest of the monastic es- 


tablishments in Lima, is an immense building, situated in the 
vicinity of the Plaza Mayor. In this convent mass is read daily 
every half-hour, from five in the morning till noon. A small 
chapel within the convent is called the Capilla de los Milagros, 
and a superstitious tradition records that during the great earth 
quake of 1630, the image of the Madonna, which surmounts the 
chapel door, turned towards the grand altar, and with folded 
hands invoked the divine grace in favor of the city. By this in- 
tercession it is believed that Lima was saved from total destruc 
tion. The monk who conducted me over the convent, and who 
related to me this miracle, observed with much simplicity that it 
was singular that the Madonna did not repeat her gracious inter 
cession in the year 1746. 

The carved work which adorns the ceilings in the corridors is 
admirably executed, though not very beautiful in design. The 
cells of the monks are very simple, but perfectly comfortable for 
habitation. The spacious and well-arranged gardens within the 
area of the convent form a pleasing contrast to the gloomy ap 
pearance of the external walls. 

To the Franciscan monks also belongs the convent of Los Des- 
calzos, situated in the suburb of San Lazaro. A broad avenue 
planted with six rows of trees leads to Los Descalzos. It is a 
neat but not large edifice, and stands at the foot of a sterile hill. 
The extensive garden which surrounds it, and which is in a very 
neglected condition, contains three palm-trees, the only ones to be 
seen in the near vicinity of Lima. The situation of tho convent 
is not healthy, and in consequence the monks frequently suffer 
from intermittent fever. These monks go barefooted, and live 
entirely on alms. Every morning two lay brethren ride on asses 
to the city, where they visit the market-place, and obtain from the 
different saleswomen charitable donations of fish, vegetables, or 

Another convent is the Recoleta de San Diego. During Lent, 
and especially in Passion Week, many men retire to this place 
to prepare themselves by mortification and prayer for confession 
and participation in the Holy Sacrament. 

The convent of Santo Domingo is very rich. It enjoys a yearly 
revenue of from seventy to seventy-five thousand dollars, for the 


most part accruing from the ground-rents of houses in the city. 
The steeple of Santo Domingo is the loftiest in all Lima. It is 
188 feet high, and is visihle at the distance of three leagues. It 
is built of wood, and inclines so considerably in its upper part, 
that there is little probability of its surviving another earthquake 
like that of 1746. The interior of the church is splendid. The 
grand altar almost vies with that of the cathedral. 

San Pedro must, doubtless, at a former period, have been the 
principal convent in Lima. It belonged to the Jesuits, and was 
their Colegio maxima. This establishment possessed enormous 
revenues, for all the finest plantations and best houses in Lima 
were the property of the order. In 1773, the king of Spain, in 
stigated by the celebrated Bull of the 21st of June of that year 
(Dominus ac redemptor noster), dispatched an order to the vice 
roys of the provinces of South America, directing them to arrest 
the Jesuits all in one night, to ship them off to Spain, and to con 
fiscate their wealth. Of course the utmost secresy was observed, 
and it is a well-authenticated fact, that in Peru, with the excep 
tion of the viceroy, and those of his agents whose assistance was 
indispensable, no one knew anything of the affair. But the same 
ship which conveyed the king s commands to the viceroy, had on 
board the necessary instructions to the vicar-general in Lima, 
from the superior of the Jesuits in Madrid, who was fully ac 
quainted with the king s design. The preparatory arrangements 
were made under the seal of perfect secresy, and at ten o clock 
at night the viceroy assembled his council, and communicated to 
them the royal commands. It was determined that no one should 
be permitted to leave the council-chamber until the blow was 
struck. At midnight some confidential officers, with the requi 
site assistance, were despatched to arrest the Jesuits, an accurate 
list of whose names lay on the table before the viceroy. The 
patrols knocked at the gate of San Pedro, which was immediately 
opened. The commanding officer desired to see the vicar-gene 
ral, and the porter ushered him into the great hall of the convent, 
where all the members of the order were assembled, evidently ex 
pecting his visit. The holy brethren were prepared for immedi 
ate departure, each being provided with a bag or trunk contain 
ing such articles as were requisite on a sea voyage. Similar 


preparations had been made in all the other convents belonging 
to the Jesuits. The surprise and disappointment of the viceroy 
on receiving this information may be easier conceived than de 
scribed. Without delay he ordered the whole brotherhood to be 
conducted under a strong escort to Callao, where they embarked. 
In the course of a few days inventories were made of the effects 
in the convents. At San Pedro it was expected that vast trea 
sures in specie would be found ; but how great was the dismay i 
when, instead of the millions which it w r as well known the order 
possessed, only a few thousand dollars could be collected. All 
the keys, even that of the treasury, were politely laid out in the 
chamber of the superior. This was a cruel mockery ! The 
Jesuits could not have taken a more ample revenge on the 
treachery that had been practised on them. 

It was suspected that the treasures were concealed partly in 
the convent of San Pedro, and partly in the plantations. Accord 
ing to the evidence of an old negro, at that time in the service 
of the convent, he, together with some of his comrades, was em 
ployed during several nights in carrying heavy bags of money 
into the vaults of the convent. Their eyes were bandaged, and 
they were conducted by two of the brethren, who helped them to 
raise and set down the bags. The negro, moreover, declared his 
conviction that there was a subterraneous spring near the spot 
where the treasure was deposited. The searches hitherto made 
have been very superficial, and it seems not impossible that by 
dint of more active exertions this concealed wealth may yet be 
brought to light. 

At present San Pedro is occupied by about a dozen lay priests. 
They perform the spiritual service of the Oratorio de San Felipe 
Neri. They live on the revenues derived from the rents of the 
few plantations which have not been confiscated or sold. The 
chapel is prettily fitted up in the interior, and the midnight mass 
at Christmas is performed there with great solemnity. The ex 
ternal walls of both the chapel and the convent are painted a 
reddish-brown color, which has a very sombre and ugly effect. 

The convents of Nuestra Senora de la Marced and San Agus- 
tin are situated at the back of San Pedro. The former is spa- 
cious, but not largely endowed ; the latter is a poor-looking 


edifice, but it possesses rich revenues. To San Agustin is at 
tached the once eminent but now very inferior college of San 

Besides the monastic establishments above named, Lima con 
tains sevend smaller convents for friars, and sixteen nunneries. 
Of the latter the largest is the Monasterio de la Concepcion. It 
is very rich, and has an annual revenue of upwards of 100,000 
dollars ; in other respects it is remarkable for nothing except the 
not very pious habits of its inmates. Santa Clara and the Encar- 
nacion are also large establishments, and well endowed. The 
nuns who observe the most rigorous conventual rules are the 
Capuchinas de Jesus Maria, the Nazarenas and the Trinitarian 
descahas. For extremely pious women, who wish to lead a clois 
tered life without taking the veil, there are three establishments 
called Beaterios, which may be entered and quitted at pleasure :* 
these are the Beaterio de Pafrocinio, the Beaterio de Santa Rosa 
de Viler bo, and the Beater to de Copacalana. This last was 
originally established exclusively for Indian females. The Re- 
fugio de San Jose is a place for the reception of married women 
who wish to withdraw from the ill treatment of bad husbands. 
On the other hand husbands who are of opinion that their wives 
may be improved by a little temporary seclusion and quiet medi 
tation, can, with the permission of the archbishop, send them for 
a while to the Refugio. Th? Recoji.das is another institution of 
the same kind, but destined for females of the poorer class. 

Lima possesses a great many hospitals, but all are lamentably 
defective in internal arrangement, and above all in judicious 
medical attendance. The largest of the hospitals, San Andres, 
was founded in the year ] 552 by the Licentiate Francisco de 
Molina. Three years afterwards, the Viceroy Don Andres Hur- 
tado de Mendoza, first Marquis de Cafiete, placed it under the 
direction of the Government. Down to the year 1826 this hos 
pital was exclusively destined for the reception of sick Spaniards. 
San Andres contains five large and four smaller wards, with 387 
beds. One part of the establishment is set apart for incurable 

* The females who retire to these establishments are called Bcattu 
(Bigots;. The term Beaterio signifies a house for Bigots. T. 


patients. The annual outlay of the hospital amounts to between 
45,000 and 50,000 dollars. In the hospital of San Andres insane 
patients are received, and their number is always considerable. 
On the 30th of November (St. Andrew s Day) this hospital is 
opened for the admittance of the public, and one of the favorite 
amusements of the inhabitants of Lima is to go to San Andres to 
see the lunatics. It is melancholy to observe these unfortunate 
beings, thus made the objects of public exhibition, and irritated 
by the idle throng who go to stare at them The collection of 
alms from the numerous visitors is, doubtless, the motive for 
keeping up this custom, which, nevertheless, is exceedingly re- 

The hospital Santa Ana was founded in the year 1549, by 
Don Fray Geronimo de Loyza, first Archbishop of Lima, and was 
destined for Indians of both sexes. The benevolent founder, with 
the most earnest self-devotion, attended the patients, and with 
true Christian charity performed the humblest duties of a sick- 
nurse. He died in 1575 in the hospital, to which he bequeathed 
a yearly revenue of 16,000 dollars. The building contains five 
large wards, and 336 beds. Since the declaration of indepen 
dence no Indian has been received into it. This hospital, alter 
nately with those of San Andres and San Bartolome, was used 
as a military lazaretto ; but since 1841 it has been allotted ex 
clusively to female patients of all classes ; for it was found 
necessary to abandon the former female hospital of La Caridad, 
on account of its damp situation. 

San Bartolome was an hospital founded in the year 1661, for 
negro patients ; but it has lately been closed. It contains eleven 
wards and 217 beds. 

Under the name of Santo Toribio an hospital for incurable pa 
tients was established in the year 1669, by Don Domingo Cueto. 

In 1702 it was consigned to the superintendence of an order of 
monks, called the padres Belemitas, and in 1822 it was incorpo 
rated with the hospital of San Lazaro. The latter establishment 
was founded by Anton Sanchez, in the year 1563, and was ex. 
clusively destined for leprous patients. Persons afflicted with 
wtaneous diseases, and especially maladies of a contagious na 
ture, are sent thither. 


In the convent of San Pedro there is a small hospital for poor 
priests. Attached to it is a dispensary, from whence the poor 
were supplied gratuitously with medicines, at the time when the 
convent was in the possession of the Jesuits. 

Lima also possesses a Foundling Hospital. Luis Ojeda, who 
humbly took to himself the title of Luis el Pecador (Luis the 
Sinner), bequeathed all his fortune to the foundation of this esta 
blishment, which received the name of " Collegio de Santa Cruz 
de los niilos expositos."* 

The refuge for female penitents was founded in the year 1670 
by the viceroy, Count de Lemos. The funds were derived from 
a legacy bequeathed for that object by Don Francisco Arcain in 
1572. The establishment has but few inmates. 

In former times it was the custom in Lima to bury the dead in 
graves dug within the churches ; but the heat of the climate, 
and the difficulty of making the graves sufficiently deep, render 
ing this practice exceedingly objectionable, the viceroy, Don 
Jose Fernando Abascal, determined on making a burial place 
beyond the boundaries of the city. A piece of ground was allot 
ted for the purpose, and it was consecrated on the 1st of January, 
1808. It is called the Cementerio general or Panteon, and is sit 
uated eastward of the city on the high road leading to the Sierra 
de Tarma. It consists of two gardens, very prettily planted, and 
inclosed by high walls. Along the walls, on the inner side, 
there are niches, about a thousand in number, ranged in sixteen 
different classes, and they may be purchased by those who wish 
to possess them. Many of them belong to families and convents. 
The graves are watched and kept in order by criminals who are 
condemned to this duty as a punishment. It is calculated that 
it will be five years before this cemetery is filled. When room 
is wanting, the niches which have been first occupied will be 
cleared, and the bones deposited in a bone-house, of simple but 
appropriate construction. At the entrance of the Panteon there 
is a neat little chapel, where the funeral obsequies are performed. 
Burials are permitted to take place only in the morning ; and 

* According to some accounts this establishment was instituted in 1654, 
by Mateo Pastor de Velasco, a native of Portollano in Spain. 


when a funeral retinue arrives too late, the body remains unin- 
lerred until the following morning. The rich are buried in cof 
fins, the poor merely in winding sheets, which are made after the 
pattern of the habits worn by the bare-footed friars of the order 
of San Francisco. 

The grand square of Lima, the Plaza Mayor, though not in 
the centre of the city, is nevertheless the central point of its life 
and business. It is 426 feet distant from the Rimac, and pre 
sents a regular quadrangle, each side of which is 510 feet long. 
From each of the four corners two handsome straight streets run 
at right angles. There is no pavement, but the ground is covered 
with fine sand. The cathedral and the archbishop s palace oc 
cupy the eastern side of the square. The latter adjoins the 
sanctuary, and has rather a fine facade. The windows of the 
principal apartments open into a balcony, commanding a view of 
the Plaza. 

On the north side of the square stands the government palace, 
formerly the residence of the all-powerful viceroys. Its exterior 
aspect is mean. It is a square building, and the front next the 
Plaza is disfigured by a long range of shabby little shops (called 
La rivera}, in which drugs are sold.* These shops are sur 
mounted by a balcony. A large double door opens from the 
Plaza into the great court-yard of the palace. Along the western 
side of the building there are also a number of little shops occu 
pied by saddlers and dealers in old iron. The street, running 
in this direction, is called the Old Iron Street (Calle del Fierro 
Viego). The principal entrance to the palace is on this side. 
On the south the building has no entrance, and it presents the 
gloomy aspect of a jail. On the east a door opens into a small 
yard or court, within which are the office and prison of the police. 
A few long flag-staffs, fixed on the roof of the palace, do not add 
to the beauty of the edifice. The interior of the building cor 
responds with its outward appearance, being at once tasteless and 
mean. The largest apartment formerly bore the name of the 

* In these shops any one may purchase for a trifle one of the most deadly 
poisons (Strichnos Ignatia, L.). It is made up into what are called Pepi- 
tas de Cabalonga. It is used in Lima for poisoning dogs. 


Sala de los Vireyes. It is now used as a ball room when enter 
tainments are given by the government. Under the Spanish do 
mination this room was hung round with portraits of the vice 
roys, the size of life.* The series of vice-regal portraits from 
Pizarro to Pezuela, forty-four in number, completely filled the 
apartment at the time when the patriot army in Lima revolted, 
and consequently the last viceroy, Don Jose de la Serna, who 
owed his elevation to the military revolution, could not have a 
place assigned for his portrait among those of his predecessors. f 
The other apartments of the palace are small and inelegant. 
Some of the rooms are used as government offices. 

The present palace was, as far as I have been able to ascer 
tain, built about the beginning of the seventeenth century. In 
the great earthquake of 1687 it was almost totally destroye li, but 
it was subsequently restored. The palace which Don Francisco 
Pizarro built for his own residence, stood, not on the site of the 
existing edifice, but on the southern side of the Plaza, on the 
spot where now a narrow dirty alley, called the Callcjon de peta- 
teros, forms a communication between the Plaza and the Silver- 
smith s-street (Calle de Plateros}. It was in that old palace that 
Juan de Herada, the friend and partisan of Don Diego de Alma- 

* This highly valuable and interesting collection of portraits is now re 
moved from the palace to the museum. It is curious to mark the progres 
sive changes of costume, and to observe the various physiognomies, espe 
cially if we reflect on the history of the men whose traits denote such 
striking differences of character. Almost all these portraits are distin 
guished by an air of tranquil gravity which in some is combined with true 
kingly dignity, and in others with an expression of fierceness. The hand 
somest head of the whole series is decidedly that of Francisco Pizarro. 
His features bear the stamp of manly energy, and his whole countenance 
is characterized by courage and candor. The nose has the prominent 
Arabic form, and the forehead is high and expanded. The thick beard, 
covering the mouth and chin, gives a gloomy and resolute character to the 
face. In this series of portraits there is one representing a priest with the 
vice-regal insignia. 

t By a singular coincidence, the title of Conde de los Andes (Count of 
the Andes) was conferred on La Serna by King Ferdinand at Madrid on 
the 9th of December, 1824, being the very day on which he gained the bat 
tle of Ayacucho, the results of which gave the Spanish dominion in South 
America its death-blow. 


gra, carried into effect his plot against Pizarro. On the 26th of 
June, 1546, the viceroy was seated at table with a party of his 
friends, when the insurgents surrounded the palace, shouting 
" Death to the tyrants!" Pizarro, though warned of his danger, 
had scarcely time to seize his sword. One of his principal offi 
cers, Don Francisco de Chavez, was killed at the door of the 
apartment, and several of the viceroy s friends and servants es 
caped by the windows. Among others who attempted to save 
themselves in this way was Pizarro s counsellor, Juan de Velas 
quez. Only on the previous evening this man had been heard 
to declare that no one would be found bold enough to join in an 
insurrection as long as he held in his hand his staff of authority. 
This declaration was in a certain measure verified, for Velas 
quez, whilst descending from the window, held his staff between 
his teeth, that he might be the better able to support himself with 
his hands. Martin Pizarro, together with two noblemen and two 
pages, were the only persons who remained faithful to the vice 
roy. The latter, with the bravery of a lion, made a long stand 
against his assailants. " Courage, brother ! Down with the 
traitors!" exclaimed Martin Pizarro, who, the next moment, 
lay dead at the viceroy s feet. At length Pizarro, exhausted by 
his efforts to defend himself, could no longer wield his hitherto 
victorious sword : he was overpowered, and one of his assailants 
naving stabbed him in the throat, he fell, mortally wounded. 
With his last faltering accents he implored the aid of a confessor ; 
and after losing the power of utterance he traced with his finger, 
on the ground, the sign of the cross, kissed it repeatedly, and 
breathed his last. Such was the sad end of one of the greatest 
heroes of his age ;* a man guilty of many crimes, but also un 
justly accused of many of which he. was innocent. His acts 
were consistent with the spirit of his age, and were influenced 
by the frightful circumstances in which he was placed. In 
short, there can be little doubt that Pizarro was " better than his 

The west side of the Plaza Mayoi is occupied by the Cabildo, 

* The above particulars are collected from the Historia del descubrimi- 
ento y conquista de la Provincia del Peru, by Augustin de Zarate. 


or senate-house (formerly called the Casa Consistorial), together 
with the city jail, and a row of houses of no very handsome ap 
pearance. The south side is filled by a range of private dwell 
ing-houses, with balconies looking to the Plaza. The houses, 
both on the west and south sides of the square, are built above a 
colonnade, in which there are numerous shops. 

In the middle of the Plaza is a magnificent bronze fountain 
with three basins. From the middle basin rises a pillar, sur 
mounted by a figure of Fame spouting the water from her trum 
pet. In the other two basins the water is ejected from the mouths 
of four lions. The pillar and figures for this triple fountain v. ere 
cast in the year 1650, by the able artist Antonio Rivas, by order 
of the then reigning viceroy, Count de Salvatierra. Besides this 
principal fountain, there are several smaller ones, from which 
the public are permitted to supply themselves with water. 

The second large public square in Lima is the Plaza de la In 
quisition, which, since the war of independence, has received the 
name of the Square of Independence (Plazuela de la Independen- 
tia). It is of trapezi-form, widening in the eastern part, and is cer 
tainly no ornament to the town, for it is always in a very dirty 
condition. Being the public market-place, it presents a very 
busy aspect during the fore part of the day. Two buildings on 
this Plazuela attract attention, viz. the Palace of the Inquisition 
and the University. There are now but few remaining traces 
of the internal arrangements of the fearful tribunal ; for, on the 
suppression of the Inquisition by the Cortes, the enraged popu 
lace forced their \Yjpy i n to the building, where they gutted the 
rooms, and destroyed the furniture. Lima was the seat of spirit 
ual jurisdiction for the whole western coast of South America ; 
and the rigor of its despotism was not far short of that of the In 
quisition of Madrid. Every year vast numbers of persons con 
victed or suspected of crimes were brought from all the intervening 
points between Chiloe and Columbia to the Tribunal of the 
Inquisition, and most of them were doomed to the most dreadful 
punishments. Autos da fe were frequently held in Lima, and 
cases of other kinds of martyrdom were exceedingly numerous. 
The lists, which have been only partially preserved, present me 
lancholy results. One part of the Palace of the Inquisition is 


now converted into a store-house for provisions, and the other 
part is used as a prison. 

The University of Lima was once the most important seat of 
education in South America. It owes its origin to a decree of 
the emperor Charles V., issued at the solicitation of the dominican 
monk Maestro Fray Tomas de San Martin. The decree was 
dated the 12th of May, 1551, but it did not reach Lima until two 
years after that time. A papal bull of Pius V. confirmed the 
imperial decree, ^nd conferred on the institution the same privi 
leges as those enjoyed by the Spanish university of Salamanca. 
The Lima university was originally established in the convent of 
Santo Domingo, but after the lapse of three years it was removed 
to the building now occupied by San Marcel, and in 1576 it was 
installed in the site it now occupies. It received the name of 
Real y Pontificia Universidad de San Marcos. In the year 1572 
the first lay rector was elected in the person of Gaspar Menen- 
dez, a doctor of medicine. 

The building is situated on the east side of the Plaza de la In- 
dependencia, next to the hospital of la Caridad. The facade is 
not handsome, but is remarkable for a style not belonging to the 
age in which it was erected. The building is entered by a lofty 
door, opening into a spacious quadrangular court, along the four 
sides of which there are pillared corridors. On the walls of 
these corridors the different branches of science are allegorically 
represented in fresco paintings, and beneath these paintings are 
inscribed quotations from ancient classic authors. The lecture 
rooms open into the corridors which run round the court. Facing 
the entrance door, in the left angle of the court, are great double 
doors opening into the Aula, which is spacious, and has rather an 
imposing aspect. In the middle of the wall, on the right-hand 
side, stands the rector s chair in a sort of niche, surmounted by 
a canopy. On either side of this chair are ranged the seats of 
the professors, and the members of faculties. Opposite to the 
rector s seat, on the leit-hand side of the Aula, is an elevated 
chair occupied by the president, when academic prizes are distri 
buted. Below it is an arm-chair for the candidate. On each side 
of the president s seat are several rows of benches, for the mem 
bers of the university and visitors. Over the entrance door there 


is a gallery to which the public are admitted, and which, on the 
occasions when prizes are distributed, is usually occupied by 
ladies. On the walls of the Aula are hung portraits of celebrated 
learned men. 

The National Library, situated near the convent of San Pedro, 
was founded by a decree, dated the 28th of August, 1821. The 
books belonging to the university of San Marcos formed the nu 
cleus of the National Library. To them were added the libra 
ries of several of the monasteries, some sequestrated works, and 
the collections of a few private individuals. Of these latter, the 
most considerable was the collection of General San Martin, and 
a library of 7772 volumes bequeathed, together with a legacy of 
a thousand dollars, by Don Miguel de la Fuente y Pacheco. In 
November, 1841, the National Library of Peru contained 26,344 
printed volumes, 432 manuscripts, and a small collection of maps 
and copperplate engravings. It is particularly rich in old works 
on religious and historical subjects. The books relating to the 
Conquest, and to the early period of the Spanish dominion, form 
in themselves a complete historical series. Of modern works 
there are but few. The pecuniary support of the establishment 
is very inconsiderable. The government exacts from it the import 
duty, three per cent., on European books, making an average 
annual sum of 400 dollars. In addition to this the salaries of 
the librarians amount annually to 2794 dollars. The library is 
open to the public every day (Friday and Sunday excepted) from 
eight in the morning till one in the afternoon, and from four in 
the afternoon till six in the evening. 

In the left wing of the same building is the museum, contain 
ing a collection of objects of natural history, antiquities, and 
other curiosities. This collection was first formed in the year 
1826, in some of the spare rooms of the palace of the Inquisition, 
and was afterwards removed from one place to another, until at 
length the government allotted to the purpose the two fine apart 
ments in the building above mentioned. As yet the establish 
ment is quite in its infancy. It contains nothing of scientific 
value, and but for the series of historical portraits already de 
scribed, it would differ but little from the collections of curiosities 
frequently formed by amateurs, in which all sorts of heteroge- 


geous objects are jumbled together. The museum of Lima bids 
fair to remain for some time to come on the footing on which it 
was when I saw it, for the establishment has no funds, save a 
monthly allowance of thirty-two dollars, and out of that scanty 
pittance the expense of fitting up the rooms, the glass cases, &c., 
has yet to be defrayed. The museum is open to the public four 
days in the week. 

Two other apartments in the same building are set aside for 
the Academy of Design (Academia de Debujo). On three even 
ings every week pupils are admitted to this academy to receive 
gratuitous instruction in drawing. The number of the pupils 
amounts to between 80 and 100 ; but there is convenient roofn 
for 200. The collection of models and drawing copies for the 
use of the students is but indifferent. 

The mint is situated in the vicinity of the Plazuela de la Inde- 
pendencia. It was founded in Lima in the year 1565 ; in 1572 
transferred to Potosi, and in 1683 removed back to Lima. For 
the space of seventy years this establishment was in the hands 
of private individuals ; but in the year 1753 the Spanish govern, 
ment took the management of it, and erected the building in 
which it is still located. It is a large and handsome structure, 
but very defective in its internal arrangement. Until the year 
1817 the machinery for casting was worked by mules, ninety-two 
of those animals being employed daily. Subsequently, under 
the direction of an Englishman, water-power was introduced, by 
which expense was diminished and time saved. A few years 
ago a French merchant made an arrangement with the govern 
ment for the use of a complex machine, which he proposed to 
bring from Europe. The machine arrived, but by an unlucky 
fatality it proved perfectly useless. For the space of four years 
repeated attempts were made tb work it, but in vain ; it fulfilled 
none of the required conditions. Its faults are manifold, and it 
reflects but little credit on the person by whom it was contrived. 
It has cost no less than 250,000 dollars, and has never been of 
the least use. 

In the mint of Lima there are annually cast from two to two 
and a half millions of dollars, which yield a profit of from 
140,000 to 180,000 dollars, out of which are paid the salaries of 


the persons employed. Under the Spanish government these 
salaries amounted annually to 48,906 dollars ; now they make, 
together with other customary outlays, the sum of 85,105 dollars. 

The value of a mark of silver in the mint is 8 dollars 4 reales ; 
that of a mark of gold is 144 dollars 4 reales. The stand eird 
worth of the gold is 21 carats; that of the silver 20 grains. 

Next to the arena for bull-fights, situated in the Plaza firme 
del Acho, the theatre is the principal place of public amusement 
in Lima. The first theatre, erected in the year 1602, was situ 
ated near the convent of San Augustin, in the street which still 
bears the name of " Comedia vieja." It was destroyed in the 
earthquake of 1630, and rebuilt on the same site. In 1662 it 
was pulled down to make room for a new street, and afterwards 
the present building was erected. Its external appearance is 
very ugly and the interior is not much better. Before the or- 
chestra there are some commodious inclosed seats or stalls. The 
boxes, which are completely separated one from another by par 
titions, are narrow but deep : the smaller ones are capable of 
containing eight persons, and the larger ones twelve. In the 
centre of the first tier of boxes, and fronting the stage, is the go 
vernment box, which occupies the space of two of the others. It 
contains seats for the prefect, the sub-prefect, and the members 
of the Cabildo. The president s box is likewise on the first tier, 
and on the left of the stage. Adjoining it there is a small cabi 
net, closed on the side next the pit by a wooden railing. Into 
this cabinet the president retires between the acts of the perform 
ance. The stage is small, and the scenery very indifferent. 

The performances are for the most part wretched, both as re 
gards the merit of the pieces and the talent of the actors. No 
thing can be in worse taste than the little farces called saynetes, 
which, according to Spanish custom, always close the perform 
ances, whether the principal piece be a tragedy or a comedy. 
Common-place intrigues form the subjects of these saynetes, and 
their dialogue consists of vulgar jokes. They are altogether 
calculated to banish any gratifying impression which might by 
possibility be produced by the principal piece. 

For some years past a company of Italians, settled in Lima, 
have given operatic performances on a small scale. One of 


them, Signora Pantanelli, is an excellent singer, and would be 
heard with pleasure even in Europe. Some other members of 
the company have middling talents, but the rest are decidedly 
bad. The operas performed are Giulietta y Romeo, Parisina, 
Lucia di Lammermuir, Marino Faliero, La Sonnambula, and II 
Barbiere di Se^iglia : these, together with a mutilated Norma, 
and a much curtailed Semiramide, form almost the whole reper 
tory. Want of stage room is an obstacle to the representation 
of operas demanding grand scenery and machinery. The cos 
tumes are for the most part exceedingly elegant, though seldom 
historically correct. The orchestra is defective, and ought to 
be much improved, to give satisfaction to a pul lie passionately 
fond of music. 

But if the inhabitants of Lima are great lovers of music, 
dancing has no less powerful attractions for them. Though the 
time is gone, when the dress of any opera-dancer may be expect 
ed to reach below the knee, yet the drapery of a Limanese Terp 
sichore appears to have attained even an ultra degree of curtail 
ment. The representation of ballets, properly so called, is not 
attempted ; but the Bolero, the Fandango, the Cachucha, and 
Don Mateo, are favorite and often repeated performances. 

During the long intervals between the acts, smoking is permitted 
in the pit and ia the outer court of the theatre. There is also a 
plentiful supply of very bad and very dear refreshments. 

An intolerable annoyance experienced in visiting the theatre 
at Lima is caused by the swarms of fleas which infest every part 
of the house, but most especially the boxes. Unfortunately, this 
nuisance is irremediable, and the visitor must be blessed with a 
large amount of endurance who can patiently sit out a whole 
evening s entertainments. 

Not far from the theatre is situated the circus for cock-fighting 
(Coliseo de gallos), where fights (peleas) take place daily. The 
Coliseo is a large amphitheatre, with an arena in the middle. 
The game-cocks trained for this sport have the spur removed 
from the right foot and in its stead is substituted a small sharp 
steel blade, curved and shaped like a scythe. One or other of 
the animals is frequently killed at the first spring ; and when that 
is not the case they continue fighting until they die of wounds and 


exhaustion. It is a cruel sport, and a worthy pendant to bull 
fighting. The first Coliseo was erected in 1762, by Don Juan 
Garrial. The present building, in the Plazucla de Santa Cata- 
lina, is a very handsome structure, and Lima may fairly boast of 
possessing the finest circus for cock-fighting in all the world. 

In the samo square with the Coliseo de gallos is the tennis- 
court, a spacious area, surrounded by high walls. It is not now 
so much resorted to as formerly, for the Creoles are not so fond 
of tennis as the Spaniards. 

A beautiful stone bridge unites the town with the suburb of 
San Lazaro. This bridge was built in the years 1638-1640, 
when the Marquis de Montes Claros was viceroy of Peru. The 
plan was designed by Fray Geronimo Villegas, an Augustine 
monk. It is 530 feet long, and has six arches rising thirty-seven 
feet above the surface of the water. The foundation of the piers 
is composed of square blocks of stone, the piers themselves are 
of brick, and the parapet of cemented stone work. The erection 
of this bridge cost 400,000 dollars. A sufficient proof of its 
strength and solidity is the fact that it survived the earthquakes 
of 1687 and 1746, which shattered all other parts of Lima. In 
the earthquake of 1746 the first arch, on which stood an eques 
trian statue of Philip V., was destroyed, but it is now restored. 
It has on one side two towers, with a dial in the middle. 

The city of Lima, with the exception of a portion of the north 
side, and the suburb of San Lazaro, is surrounded by a wall 
built of brick. This wall was constructed in the year 1585, 
when the Duque de la Plata was viceroy. It is the work of a 
Fleming, named Pedro Ramon. This wall is between eighteen 
and twenty feet high. Its breadth at the base is from ten to 
twelve feet, and at the top nine feet. It does not therefore afford 
sufficient space for mounting large guns. Along the whole ex 
tent of the wall there are thirty-four bastions. In the year 1807, 
this wall, which had fallen into a very ruinous condition, was re 
paired by order of the viceroy Abascal, and put into a condition 
to be mounted with artillery. On each side commodious path 
ways were made, and along the inner side powder magazines 
were constructed. At present these fortifications are in a state 
of complete dilapidation. The paths, which are obstructed by 


rubbish, are almost impassable, and the powder magazines are 
destroyed. The city wall of Lima has nine gates (Portadas). 
Of these, six only are now open, viz., the Portadas of Maravil- 
las, Barbones, Cocharcas, Guadelupe, Juan Simon, and Callao ; 
the three others, the Portadas of Martinete, Monserrat, and Santa 
Catalina, are walled up. At every one of the open gates there 
are stationed custom-house guards, whose chief duty consists in 
preventing the smuggled introduction of unstamped silver (plata 
de pina). In the direction of the suburb of San Lazaro, the city 
cannot be closed, as the wall does not extend to that part. Be 
tween San Lazaro, and the high road to Cero de Pasco, is the 
Portada de Guias ; this, however, is not properly a gate, but a 
small custom-house. In this direction it is easy to gain entrance 
to the city from the river, and consequently it is here that most 
of the contraband silver, brought from the mountains, is smug 

Among the fortifications of Lima may be included the pretty 
little castle of Santa Catalina, situated at the eastern end of the 
city, between the Portada de Cocharcas and the Portada de Gua 
delupe, at the distance of about two hundred yards from the city 
wall. It is surrounded by rather high walls, and is flanked by 
two bastions. The interior of this citadel is very well arranged, 
and is kept much cleaner than such places usually are in Peru. 
It contains stores of arms and barracks for the artillery. The 
largest barracks in Lima are those of the infantry, Quartet de 
Infanteria, in the Colegio. They are remarkable for want of 
cleanliness, and like most of the public buildings in this interest 
ing city, going fast to decay. 







Population of Lima Us diminution Different races of the Inhabitants 
Their characteristics Amusements Education The women of Lima 
Their Costume The Saya y Manto Female domestic life Love of 
dress Beatas Indians Slaves Bosales Free Creoles Negroes Ne 
gresses Black Creoles Their varieties Mestizos Mulattoes Palan- 
ganas Zambos Chinos Foreigners in Lima Corruption of the Spanish 

PROCEEDING from the shell to the kernel, we will now take a 
glance at the inhabitants of the capital of Peru : first, surveying 
the native in his fatherland, and next, the foreign settler in his 
adopted country. 

The population of Lima has at various periods undergone re 
markable fluctuations. In the year 1764 the number of the in 
habitants was stated to be 54,000; in 1810, 87,000; in 1826, 
70,000; in 1836, 54,600; and in 1842, 53,000. Of most of 
these estimates I entertain some degree of distrust, as they are 
merely founded on general calculations, and are not the results 
of careful numbering. Certain it is, however, that the population 
of Lima has very considerably decreased since the declaration 
of independence. This is sufficiently proved by the fact that 
several parts of the city are now totally uninhabited : the houses 
falling to decay, and the gardens lying waste. 

The cause of this diminished population is easily explained by 
the physical and political condition of the country. Earthquakes 
have, at various times, buried thousands of people beneath the 
ruins of their own dwellings ; the war of independence was at 
tended by vast sacrifices of life ; banishment and voluntary emi 
gration have removed from Lima the families of some of the 
principal citizens ; and epidemic disease, the natural consequence 
of defective police regulations, has swept away countless multi 
tudes of the inhabitants. The number of new settlers is very 


inconsiderable ; and for several past years the number of deaths 
has nearly doubled that of the births. There appears no reason 
to doubt that this decrease of population will continue ; because, 
as will presently be seen, the causes to which it is assignable 
cannot be checked, inasmuch as they are intimately blended with 
the character of the nation. Most of these causes operate not 
only in the capital, but over the whole country indeed, in the 
latter their influence is in some instances much greater; for ex 
ample, in the interior of Peru the loss of life attendant on the war 
was relatively much greater than in Lima. This favored coun 
try, which extends from the 3d to the 22d degree of south latitude, 
and which contained at the time of its conquest by the Spaniards 
an immense population, though its amount is not known with 
numerical exactitude, now counts only 1,400,000 inhabitants. 

In the tax registers, drawn up during the protectorate of Santa 
Cruz, in 1836, the number of the inhabitants of Lima is repre 
sented as follows : 

Male. Female. Total. 

1. White Creoles (being the descendants of foreign 

ers, but chiefly of Spaniards) . . . 9,42310,17039,593 

2. Indians 2,561 2,731 5,292 

3. People of Color (mixed races) . . . . 11,771 12,35524,126 

4. Slaves 2,186 3,600 4,792 

5. Ecclesiastics (Lay and Monastic) . . . 475 350 S25 

In all ... 26,416 29,212 54,628 

From the above it appears that in every class (No. 5 excepted) 
there is a preponderance of females ; and that on the whole popu 
lation of 54,628 individuals there is a surplus of 2790 women. 
About one in every sixty-six individuals belongs to the priest 

Possibly in no other place in the world is there so much variety 
of complexion and physiognomy as in Lima. From the deli 
cately fair creole daughter of European parents, to the jet black 
Congo negro, people of every gradation of color are setn living 
in intimate relation o|fe with another. The two extreme classes 
the whites and blacks are as distinct in character as in color, 
and of either of those it is no difficult task to give an accurate 


portraiture. But it is different with the mixed races. To define 
their characteristics correctly would be impossible, for their minds 
partake of the mixture of their blood. As a general rule, it may 
fairly be said that they unite in themselves all the faults, without 
any of the virtues, of their progenitors. As men they are great) j 
inferior to the pure races, and as members of society they are the 
worst class of citizens. Here, as well as in the following deline 
ations of the different races, I wish my observations to be under- 
stood only in a general sense. I have met with some honorable 
exceptions ; though, unfortunately, they were mere solitary lumi 
naries, whose transient light has been speedily obscured by the 
surrounding darkness. 

The white Creoles, who, with very few exceptions, are the de 
scendants of Spaniards, constitute somewhat less than a third part 
of the population of Lima. They are slender in figure and of 
middling height. Their features are strongly marked, their com 
plexions fair and pale, and their hair is of the darkest black. 
The men are feeble and look prematurely old. Their counte 
nances, though not devoid of dignity, have a sort of sensual ex 
pression. They are effeminate, and disinclined to any kind of 
active exertion. If they ride the distance of ten miles, they 
think they have performed a feat of heroism worthy to be recorded 
in the state archives. If the white Creoles are inferior to the 
Spaniards in physical organization, they are no less beneath them 
in qualities of mind. They shrink from anything that demands 
intellectual exertion. In short, they are sworn enemies to busi 
ness of every kind, and those who are obliged to work for their 
own support, make choice of some occupation which, like that of 
a shopman, affords them ample time to smoke cigars and to gossip 
with their neighbors. The richer classes give themselves up 
wholly to idleness. They walk about and visit their acquaint 
ances, or they lounge in shops or at the corners of streets, and 
in that manner they often amuse themselves for half a day. 
Those who are owners of plantations occasionally ride through 
them to receive reports from their mayordomos. Their afternoons 
are usually spent in the Collseo de gallos, in the coffee-houses, or 
at the gaming-table. The white Creoles are as passionately fond 
of gaming as the Spaniards, and sums equal to those staked at 


the gaming-tables of Mexico and the Havannah are daily lost and 
v/on in Lima. Though games of hazard are prohibited, yet they 
are very publicly played, and it is only now and then that the 
police enforce the regulations of the law by the seizure of a 

Gaming in Lima is carried on very quietly, and the most de 
termined gamblers do not show themselves very much excited 
either by losses or winnings. The discovery of false dice, how 
ever, creates bitter feelings of animosity, which not unfrequently 
lead to assassination. Of this I knew several instances when I 
was in the interior of the country. 

The intellectual culture of the white Creole of Lima is exceed 
ingly defective. He is not wanting in talent; but an imperfect 
system of education affords him no opportunity for the develop 
ment of his faculties, and innate indolence is a bar to his self- 
improvement by study. He seldom rises above the level of 
every-day life, and is ignorant of everything beyond the boundary 
of the city, or, at all events, of the province in which he was born. 
I have often been amazed at the monstrous ignorance of so-called 
educated Peruvians, respecting the situation, the extent, the phy 
sical formation, and the productions of their native country. 

On the other hand, it must not bo forgotten that Lima has been 
the birthplace of several white Creoles, whose talents and learn 
ing have honorably distinguished them from the rest of their 
countrymen. For example, Don Tomas de Salazar, author of 
the " Interpretaciones de los Leyes de Indias."* Don Miguel 
Nunez de Rojas, the learned Judge of Confiscations in the Span 
ish war of succession, and Don Alonzo Conde de San Donas, who 
in the reign of Philip IV. was Spanish Ambassador at the Court 
of France. Among those eminent in literature may be named 
Don Pedro de la Reyna Maldonado, and the poet Don Diego Mar 
tinez de Rivera, of whom Cervantes in his " Galatea" says 

Su divina ingenio ha producido 
En Arequipa eterna Primavera.f 

Several monks distinguished for learning have been white 

* Interpretations of the Indian Laws. 

f His divine genius has produced eternal spring in Arequipa. 


Creoles, and an eminent individual of that race was Don Hipolito 
Unanue, the author of the " Guide to Peru," and " Observations 
on the Climate of Lima, and its Influence on organized Beings, 
especially Man ; * a Treatise on the Cocoa-tree, &c. In more 
recent times, Don Mariano Eduardo dc Rivero has zealously de 
voted himself to the study of natural history and antiquities. 

But in spite of his faults, the Lima Creole has his good quali 
ties. He is an enemy to strong drinks. When he takes wine it 
is usually of some sweet kind, and of that he partakes very spar 
ingly. A white Creole in a state of intoxication would, indeed, 
be a rare sight. Not so in the interior of the country, where the 
whites are remarkable for intemperate drinking. 

Far superior to the men, both physically and intellectually, 
are the women of Lima. Nature has lavishly endowed them 
with many of her choicest gifts. In figure they are usually 
slender and rather tall, and they are especially remarkable for 
small, elegantly formed feet. Their fair faces, from which the 
glowing breath of the tropics banishes every trace of bloom, are 
animated by large, bright, dark eyes. Their features are pleas 
ing the nose being well formed, though in general not small 
the mouth invariably adorned with two rows of brilliant white 
teeth, f and their long black hair, arranged in plaits, falls grace 
fully over the bosom and shoulders. Add to all this a captivat 
ing grace of manner and deportment, joined to an exceeding de 
gree of gentleness and amiability, and it will be readily admitted 
that the Limena is a noble specimen of female loveliness. 

At home, especially in the summer season, the ladies of Lima 
dress lightly and even negligently. For visiting, or going -to the 
theatres, they adopt the French fashion. When walking in the 
streets, attending church, joining religious processions, &c., they 
appear in a very singular costume, peculiar to Lima, and consist- 
ing of two garments called the Say a and the Manto. Of the 
say a thete are two kinds. The one called the Saya ojustada, was 

* " Guia del Peru." " Observaciones sobre el clima de Lima y sus influ- 
cncias en los seres organizados en especial el hombre." 

f The women of Lima clean their teeth several times a day with the root 
called Raiz de dicntes (literally root for the teeth ), of which they keep a 
piece constantly in their pocket. 


formerly in general use, but is now seldom seen. It consists of 
a petticoat, or skirt of thick stiff silk, plaited at top and bottom, 
in small fluted folds, drawn very close together at the waist and 
widening towards the ankles, beneath which the saya does not 
descend. It is tight to the form, the outline of which it perfectly 
displays, and its closeness to the limbs naturally impedes rapid 
movement. When wearing the Saya ajustada, the ladies find it 
no very easy task to kneel down at church, and at the termina 
tion of every genuflexion, they are obliged to twist and twirl 
about for a considerable time before they can ao-ain stand on 

* O 

their feet.* 

The other description of "saya is called the Saya culepa, or the 
Saya desplcgada. It is plaited close at the waist, and from thence 
downwards it stands out like a hooped petticoat. This sort of 
saya is made by first being plaited both at top and bottom like the 
Saya ajustada ; but, afterwards, the lower plaits are undone to 
form the Saya desplcgada. The saya is always made of some 
dark-colored silk, black, green, blue, or cinnamon color. 

The Manto is a veil of thick black silk fastened by a band at 
the back of the waist, where it joins the saya. From thence it 
is brought over the shoulders and head, and drawn over the face 
so closely that only a small triangular space, sufficient for one eye 
to peep through, is left uncovered. A rich shawl thrown over 
the shoulders conceals the whole of the under garment, except 
the sleeves. One of the small, neatly-gloved hands, confines the 
folds of the manto, whilst the other holds a richly embroidered 

At first sight this costume has a very singular effect, and it is 

* It is related that, during the war of independence, when Lima was al 
ternately in possession of the Patriots and the Spaniards, a party of the 
latter, in order to ascertain the spirit of the Limenos, disguised themselve3 
as Patriots and marched to the vicinity of the town. On their approach be 
coming known, a great number of persons proceeded from Callao to the 
Alameda to meet them. Among those who went forth to welcome the sup 
posed patriots were a number of women dressed in the narrow sayas above 
described. When the disguised Spaniards had advanced within a little 
distance of the deceived multitude they began to attack them. The men 
saved themselves by flight ; but the women, whose sayas impeded their mo 
tion, were unable to escape, and were almost all killed 


long before the eye of a foreigner becomes reconciled to it. The 
narrow saya is by no means graceful ; the wide saya, on the 
other hand, is very becoming, and sets off to great advantage a 
good figure and elegant deportment. When I first arrived in 
Lima and saw the ladies closely muffled up in their mantos, and 
carrying embroidered cambric handkerchiefs and nosegays in 
their hands, it struck me that the nuns enjoyed greater freedom 
in that country than in any other part of the world. After ves 
pers, that is to say half-past seven in the evening, the police regu 
lations prohibit any woman from appearing in the streets dressed 
in the saya. 

As this garment may be worn over a dress of the ordinary 
kind, it is found to be very convenient, inasmuch as it saves the 
trouble of a careful toilette. During short visits the ladies dc 
not take off the saya ; but when making long visits they usually 
lay it aside. 

The Saya y Manto are found to be very useful auxiliaries in 
the numerous intrigues in which the Limeims frequently engage. 

A Tapada* indulges in a vast deal of freedom when in the 
streets, and scruples not to make satirical observations on any. 
body or anything that strikes her as strange or ludicrous. The 
veil, or manto, is sacred, and should a man attempt to remove 
it by force, he would run the risk of being severely handled by 
the populace. 

In intrigues of gallantry the Saya y Manto play a conspicuous 
part. A lady has been known to arrange an assignation witli a 
gentleman in the street, whilst her husband, standing at the dis 
tance of a few yards and conversing with a friend on some mat 
ter of business, has little suspected that the Tapada whose grace 
ful figure he admired, was his own faithful better-half. It fre 
quently happens that Dofia Mariquita obliges Doiia Merccditas, 
or Dona Panchita, with the loan of her saya, for the purpose of 
hood- winking the Argus-eyes of a jealous husband ; the lady 
being well convinced that her kind friends will render her the 

* A Tapada is a lady closely concealed beneath the folds of her veil or 
manto. The term is derived from the verb tapar, to cover or conceal. 
Taparse a media ojo, is said of a lady when she draws her manto over her 
face so as to leave only one eye or rather the half of an eye uncovered. T 


like service in similar circumstances. Sometimes a lady may 
be seen in an old tattered saya, such as scarcely the poorest 
female might be expected to wear ; but the costly shawl, the 
worked pocket-handkerchief, the silk stockings, and satin shoes, 
betray the rank of the Tapada, and plainly denote that sho has 
sallied forth on an adventure. It is difhcult, nay almost impos 
sible, to recognize a lady thus muffled up. The one eye alone 
visible, is, as may be supposed, a very uncertain token of iden 
tity, and the figure and walk may be easily disguised. 

It will readily be supposed that these concealments sometimes 
occasion mortifying mistakes. On beholding a tall slender figure 
whose symmetrical contour is discernible even through the un 
wieldy saya, and a bright dark eye beaming beneath the folds of 
the manto, one may be induced to imagine that the charms of a 
Hebe are concealed beneath the disfiguring garb. But how 
great is the disappointment when an accidental movement of the 
manto discloses the wide mouth of an ugly rnulatta grinning 
from ear to ear. 

Most foreigners who marry Limeiias stipulate that from the 
time of betrothal, their wives shall no longer wear the saya y 
manto. The condition is agreed to ; but how far it is faithfully 
observed the husbands best know. Many, no doubt, lull them 
selves in the confidence of their wishes being implicitly obeyed ; 
but female ingenuity readily devises opportunities for deception. 
The women of Lima never willingly renounce the saya y manto, 
for it is inseparably associated with customs to which they are, 
heart and soul, devoted. 

If we follow the Limeiia (the white Creole, be it understood) 
into the retirement of domestic life, we find that she is an affec 
tionate mother, but not a very clever housekeeper. Every lady 
has at her command a great many more domestics than arc neces 
sary : some are servants, but most of them slaves. The esta 
blishment usually consists of a cook, a nurse-maid, one or two 
house-maids, a needle-woman, several men-servants, and a little 
negro or Indian, whose chief business is to carry a carpet behind 
his mistress when she g6es to church. These servants all do as 
they please, and the lady of the house concerns herself very lit 
tle about the indolence which he? want of vigilance encourages, 


She rises at a late hour, and having dressed herself and deco 
rated her hair with sprigs of jasmine and orange blossom, she 
takes her breakfast. That meal being ended, she goes out to 
make visits. During the sultry hours of mid-day she reposes, 
either by swinging in a hammock or reclining on a sofa, nnd 
meanwhile smokes a cigar. After dinner she again makes visits, 
and the evening is spent in the theatre, on the plaza, or on the 
bridge. Some few ladies employ themselves in needle-work, in 
which they are often most accomplished adepts ; they especially 
excel in embroidery and fancy work ; but they never pursue 
these employments before company. 

The ladies of Lima are passionately fond of music. Most of 
them play the piano-forte or the guitar, and also sing ; but for 
want of good instruction neither their playing nor their singing 
is above mediocrity. Smoking is pretty general among females, 
at least those of mature age ; but they indulge in this practice 
only in their own apartments. Of late years the custom of 
smoking has been on the decline in Lima, in proportion as it lias 
been increased on the continent of the old world. Though snuff- 
taking is prohibited in the convents, yet the nuns practise it to a 
great extent. They use an exceedingly fine kind of red snuff, 
which has the effect of closing the breathing passage through the 
nostrils, and of producing a peculiar nasal tone of voice. 

With the ladies of Lima, vanity and the love of dress appear 
to have readied their climax. To this passion for persona 1 , 
adornment they sacrifice everything. Formerly, when none but 
real pearls and diamonds were worn, many a lady was known to 
have ruined her husband by the purchase of those costly articles ; 
now, however, thanks to French mock jewelry, they are enabled 
to bedeck themselves in glittering ornaments at trivial expense. 
Another of their passions is a fondness for perfumes. They are 
continually besprinkling themselves with eau de Cologne, esprit da 
LcivandC) agua r/ca, or mistura. The latter is a fragrant yellow- 
colored water, prepared from gillyflower, jasmine, and flor de 
mistela (Talinum uinbellatum). They perfume their apartments 
daily with Sahumerios (pastiles). When the lady of the house 
wishes to show particular attention to her visitors, she offers them 
perfumed water, dropping it into the bosoms of the ladies, and on 


the pocket-handkerchiefs of the gentlemen. Considering their 
free use of perfumes, it is not surprising that the fair Limcnaa 
should be constantly complaining of headache, vertigo, and other 
nervous ailments, or, to use their own phrase (los nervios). 

Above all things the Limenas pride themselves in the excessive 
smallness of their feet. Whether walking, standing, sitting, 
swinging in the hammock, or reclining on the sofa, the grand ob 
ject invariably is to display to advantage the tiny foot. To 
praise her virtue, her intelligence, her wit, or even her beauty, 
would be less complimentary to a Limena than to admire the 
elegance of her feet. All possible care is taken to preserve the 
small form of the foot, and the Lima ladies avoid everything that 
may tend to spread or enlarge it. Their shoes are usually made 
of embroidered velvet or satin, or of very fine kid, and are so 
exceedingly small, that they cannot be drawn on and off without 
difficulty. It is usual to have two new pairs every week, and 
the expense of a lady s shoes not unfrequently amounts to two 
hundred dollars per annum. A large foot is a thing held in hor 
ror by the Limenas : they call it una pataza inglesa (an English 
paw). I once heard some Lima ladies extolling in high terms 
the beauty of a fair European ; but all their praises ended with 
the words : " Pero que pie, valgame Dios ! parcce una lancha." 
(But what a foot, good Heaven ! It is like a great boat.) Yet 
the feet of the lady alluded to would not, in Europe, have been 
thought by any means large. 

Gourmanderie is one of the evil habits of the female inhabit 
ants of Lima. Between meals they are continually eating sweet- 
meats and a variety of things. At one moment they order 
ta.mal* next omilas,^ then pan de chancay (a sweet sort of bread), 
and biscuits, then masamorita morada^ or frijoles coladas, 
&c. ; and yet dinner is partaken with as hearty an appetite as 
though none of these interludes had been introduced. Can it be 
matter of surprise that the good ladies are constantly complain 
ing of indigestion and mal de estomago ? 

* A preparation of finely-bruised maize mixed with morsels of pork. It 
is rolled in maize leaves, and in that manner served up. 
f Sweet cakes made of maize and raisins. 
t A syrup made from the pulp of fruit. Preserved peas with syrup. 


In the interior of the houses cleanliness does not extend be- 
yond those apartments which are open to visitors, namely, the 
sala and the cuadro. The other rooms of the house frequently 
bear more resemblance to a stable than a human habitation, and 
their condition reflects little credit on the domestic habits of the 
female inmates. But even this is typical of the national charac 
ter, a great outward show and little inward worth. 

At first a stranger is struck with the singularity of the names 
of many of the women of Lima. A child receives the name of 
the saint or of the festival whose celebration falls on the day of 
its birth. Those who happen to come into the world on the 
days on which the Romish Church celebrates the several mani 
festations of the Virgin receive the most extraordinary names. 
For example, a child born on the anniversary day of the mani 
festation to St. Francis on the Snow Mountain, is named Nieves 
(snow). Filar (fountain-basin) is another strange name, confer 
red in honor of the manifestation of the Virgin at the Fountains 
in Saragossa. Then there are Conceptions. Natividads, and 
Asu?icions, without number. A girl born on Candlemas-day is 
named Candelaria, and one born on the first day of the year re 
ceives the name of Jesus. The singular effect of these names 
is heightened by the Spanish custom of using diminutives, 
formed by adding to the name the particle ito or ita, the former 
being the masculine, the latter the feminine. It may be readily 
imagined that a foreigner is not a little startled on hearing a 
young lady called Dona Jesusita. In some names the diminutive 
takes a form totally different from the full name ; as, for exam 
ple, Panchita for Francisca, Pepita for Jose fa, Conchita for Con- 
cepcion. A married woman does not take the family name of 
her husband, but retains her own, adding to it her husband s name 
preceded by the particle de, as, for example, Dona Maria Juana 
Rodriguez de Salazar. 

On attaining a certain age, the Limenas totally alter their 
habits of life. When their beauty fades, and they cease to be 
the objects of compliment and flattery ; or when weary of an 
idle, luxurious, and, in too many instances, a no very virtuous 
ife, they betake themselves to piety, and become Bealas.* The 

* Literally Bigots. 


Limefia who thus renounces the vanities of the world attends 
cjmrch two or three times every day, confesses at least once 
every week, retires during Lent to a house of penitence ; fasts, 
prays, and receives the visits of her confessor, to whom she se.ids 
presents of sweetmeats ; and should the holy man, as is usually 
the case, prefer riding to walking, she shows her piety hy giving 
him the use of her Calesa to convey him from place to place. 

The women of Lima are gifted by nature with extraordinary 
natural talent, though unfortunately it is rarely cultivated. They 
possess shrewd and penetrating intelligence, clear judgment, and 
in general very just views on the ordinary affairs of life. Like 
the women of the southern provinces of Spain, they are remark 
able for quickness and smartness of repartee, and in a wordy 
contest a Limena is sure to come off triumphant. They have a 
great deal of decision of character, and a degree of courage 
which does not usually fall to the lot of the female sex. In these 
respects they are infinitely superior to the timid, spiritless men. 
In the various political revolutions of the country, the women 
have often taken an active, and, in some instances, a more decided 
part than the men. 

The Indians in Lima form but a small portion of the popula 
tion, being about 5000 in number. Among them are as many 
emigrants as natives. Most of the former are from the moun 
tainous districts, and but few are from places on the coast. Their 
character is, of course, much modified by continual intercourse 
with the whites ; but I will endeavor to describe them as they 
show themselves in their original purity, marking the distinctions 
observable between the Indio Cosleno (the Coast Indian), and the 
Jndw Serrano (the mountain Indian). The Indians in Lima are 
active and industrious. Many of them are shopkeepers, and by 
the integrity of their dealings they stand on a footing of good 
credit with the great commercial houses. Those who are em 
ployed as servants are less remarkable for industry and honesty. 
They are reserved and suspicious ; qualities especially observa 
ble when they have but recently emigrated into Lima. They 
combine personal vanity with an inconceivable degree of dirti 
ness. Their intellectual faculties are far beneath those of tho 


white Creoles, of whom they stand in a degree of fear, which is 
not easily eradicated. 

At a former period there existed in Lima a college exclusively 
for noble-born Indians ; and the eldest sons of the families de 
scended from the Incas, when they wished to study, were received 
at the expense of the State into the College of San Carlos ; but 
since the declaration of independence, all the privileges enjoyed 
by the Indians have been annulled. 

The negroes in Lima form one-fifth part of the population. 
Their number amounts to upwards of 10,000, of which 4800 are 
slaves. Though an article in the Charter of Independence de 
clares that " in Peru no person is born a slave," yet the National 
Congress has on various occasions thought fit to deviate from this 
principle. In Huaura it was decreed that children born in sla 
very shall be free on attaining the age of twenty-five, and the 
Congress of Huancayo prolonged the period to fifty years. There 
are no new importations of negroes from Africa, for an article 
in the Charter just mentioned sets forth that " every person who 
may be brought, as a slave, from another country to Peru, is free 
from the moment when he sets foot on the soil of that republic. 
Accordingly, if a Peruvian take his slave with him on a journey 
to Chile, and brings him back again, the slave may, on his re 
turn, claim his freedom. The only exception to this rule refers 
to runaway negroes, who, even after years of absence, may be 
reclaimed on their return. The value of slaves is not so high ki 
Peru as in the southern states of North America. In Lima, the 
average price of a young, strong, and healthy negro is 400 dol 
lars ; the price of a negress, especially a Negra de Chavra (ca 
pable of field work), is 100 dollars higher. The value of those 
destined for domestic service depends on character and qualifica 
tions. A negress who is a good cook or needlewoman, is of course 
worth more than a negro who is to be employed as a water-car 
rier or a footman. In the plantations their value depends wholly 
on health and strength. 

The treatment of slaves in Lima, especially by the Creoles, is 
exceedingly mild, and generally much on the same footing as the 
treatment of servants in Europe. It is seldom that a master in. 
flicts severe corporal chastisement on a slave. If the latter 



requires punishment, he is sent into the Panaderia (the bake 
house) to knead the dough and bake the bread, which work they 
perform under the supervision of a Mayordomo, who is usually 
a hard task-master. Owing to the heat of the climate, working 
in the Panaderia is more feared by the slaves than any other 
kind of punishment. 

In Lima the special laws for the protection of slaves are more 
favorable to them than the similar laws of any other slave coun 
try. The slaves bring their complaints before a particular 
judge, whose business it is to protect them against ill-treatment. 
A slave is free whenever he can pay the sum which his master 
demands for him, which sum, in disputed cases, is fixed by legal 
decision. The slave also possesses the right of selling himself to 
another master, and the latter may pay the purchase-money to 
the former owner, who, however unwillingly, is obliged to con 
clude the bargain. The negroes have ample opportunities for 
saving money. They are permitted, during five or six hours of 
the day, to work for themselves ; so that in the course of a few 
years they may with ease save the sum requisite for purchasing 
their independence. But in general they spend their earnings 
in mere idle enjoyments, and care but little about obtaining their 1 * 
freedom. As slaves they are provided with lodging, food, and 
clothing, and they are nursed in sickness ; but as soon as they 
become free, they must supply all these wants for themselves ; 
an undertaking which their natural indolence renders them little 
inclined to. On the whole, domestic negroes may be said to be 
willing slaves ; it is possibly different with those employed in the 
plantations, who are liable to harder work and harsher treatment. 
I knew an old negro, who had hoarded up 6000 dollars, and yet 
did not purchase his own freedom, though he had paid for the 
liberation of his children and his two sisters. He often observed ^ 
to me, that he should not be half so well off if he were free. 

The negroes brought from Africa, who are called Bosales, are 
far better than the Creole negroes. In physical strength they are 
inferior to the latter, and are less lively ; yet they are patient, 
and much more faithful and attached to their masters than the 
Creole negroes born in Peru. The Bosales all have a certain 
degree of pride, but especially those who are of prinoelv blood. 


A gentleman of old Spain bought a young negro princess, who 
not without the greatest difficulty could be brought to perform the 
duties of servitude. When she was directed to go to market, 
she set her basket down on the ground, and signified that she had 
been accustomed to be served, and not to serve. Some chastise, 
ment was resorted to, with the view of compelling her to do tho 
duty allotted to her ; but in vain. Her pride and obstinacy re 
mained unconquerable. Sometimes she would sit for hours 
gloomily, with her eyes fixed on the ground, and muttering be 
tween her teeth, in her broken Spanish, the words, " Yo clamta ! 
yo clamta /"* Then suddenly springing up, she would strike 
her head against the wall until she became almost senseless. 
As she showed a fondness for the children of the family, she was 
relieved from household work, and became the nursery-maid. 
In that way she discharged the duties which devolved on her 
with the most touching affection and fidelity ; but she never 
would do anything, however trivial, which she considered to be 
menial service, and her master and mistress were reasonable 
enough not to require it. 

When the number of the African negroes in Lima was more 

^considerable than it now is, the various races kept together, and 
formed themselves into unions, called Cofradias. They used to 
meet together at regular periods. At these meetings, the negroes 
of princely descent were treated with marks of respect which 
they could scarcely have received in their native home. 
Speeches were delivered, and religious ceremonies performed ; 
"Whilst music, singing, and dancing, revived recollections of past 
happiness, and of the far-distant native land. These Cofradias 
were also conducive to philanthropic ends ; for when a slave had 
a hard master, the sum requisite for purchasing his freedom was 
raised by a general subscription in the union to which he be- 

* longed. Since the independence of Peru, and the consequent 
prohibition of the importation of negroes, the Cofradias have 
declined, and have lost much of their original character. 
Creoles and free negroes have now become members of them. 
The places in which these meetings are held are situated in the 

* Meaning Yo esdavita ! (I, a slave !) Esclavita being the diminutive 
of Esclava. 


suburb of San Lazaro. The walls of the rooms are painted with 
grostesque figures of negro kings, elephants, camels, palm 
trees, &c. 

In Lima, and indeed throughout the whole of Peru, the free 
negroes a plague to society. Too indolent to support them- 
selves by laborious industry, they readily fall into any dishonest 
means of getting money. Almost all the robbers who infest the 
roads on the coast of Peru are free negroes. Dishonesty seems 
to be a part of their very nature ; and moreover, all/their tastes 
and inclinations are coarse and sensual. Many warm defenders 
of the negroes excuse these qualities by ascribing them to the 
want of education, the recollection of slavery, the spirit of re- 
renge, &c. But I here speak of free-born negroes, who aro 
admitted into the houses of wealthy families, who from their 
early childhood have received as good an education as falls to 
the share of many of the white Creoles who are treated with 
kindness and liberally remunerated, and yet they do not differ 
from their half-savage brethren who are shut out from these 
advantages. If the negro has learned to read and write, and 
thereby made some little advance in education, he is transformed 
into a conceited coxcomb, who, instead of plundering travellers 
on the highway, finds in city life a sphere for the indulgence of 
his evil propensities. What is the cause of this incorrigible tur 
pitude of the negroes ? To answer this important question is 
not easy, if we admit the principle that the negro is as capable 
of cultivation as the Caucasian ; and in support of it the names 
of some highly-educated Ethiopians may be cited. Those who 
are disposed to maintain this principle, and who are at the same 
time intimately acquainted with the social relations of the coun 
tries in which free negroes are numerous, may solve the problem. 
My opinion is, that the negroes, in respect to capability for 
mental improvement, are far behind the Europeans, and that, 
considered in the aggregate, they will not, even with the advan 
tages of careful education, attain a very high degree of cultiva 
tion ; because the structure of the negro skull, on which depends 
the development of the brain, approximates closely to the animal 
form. The imitative faculty of the monkey is highly developed 
in the negro, who readily seizes anything merely mechanical, 


whilst things demanding intelligence are beyond his reach. 
Sensuality is the impulse which controls the thoughts, the acts, 
the whole existence of the negroes. To them freedom can be 
only nominal ; for if they conduct themselves well it is because 
they are compelled, not because they are inclined to do so. 
Herein lie at once the cause of, and the apology for, their bad 

The negro women differ but little from the men, in their general 
characteristics. They are, however, more active and industrious, 
and better tempered. As domestic servants they are superior to 
the mixed races. They are much emploved as nurses, and in 
those situations they discharge their duties well. Their personal 
vanity is boundless, and every real they can save is spent in dress 
and ornaments. It is amusing to see them, on festival days, 
parading about the streets, dressed in white muslin gowns trimmed 
with lace, and short sleeves displaying their black arms. Very 
short petticoats, seldom extending below the ankle, serve to 
exhibit the tawdry finery of red silk stockings and light blue 
satin shoes. From their ears are suspended long gold drops, and 
their uncovered necks are not unfrequently adorned with costly 
necklaces. A negrecss, who was a slave belonging to a family 
of my acquaintance, possessed a necklace composed of fine 
Panama pearls, worth several thousand dollars. The pure white 
of the pearls was wonderfully heightened by the contrast of the 
jet-black skin of the wearer ; and for this reason they were more 
ornamental to the negress than they would have been to the 
fairest lady in Europe. 

Having noticed the principal races, we will now consider the 
variegated mass of people of mixed blood, who in Lima form a 
considerable portion of the population. Stevenson* gives a long 
list of these mixed races, and specifies the proportionate degree, 
that is to say, how many eighths or sixteenths of black, brown, 
or white color belong to each. But these data respecting tint are 
fallacious, for, being founded solely on external appearance, they 
arc liable to endless modifications. Stevenson falls into the mis- 

Narrative of twenty years residence in South America, by W. B. Ste- 


take of giving to the children of a negro father and a white mo 
ther, the name of Zambos ; whilst to the offspring of a while 
father and a black mother, he gives the name of Mulattos. By a 
similar error, he terms the children of a white man and a Cuar- 
terona, Quinteros ; and to those of a Cuarteron and a white 
woman, he gives the designation Cuarterones. It is, however, 
an established rule, that the children bear the designation, denot 
ing the same degree of mixed blood, whatever may respectively 
be the colors of the parents. Accordingly, the child of a negro 
and a white woman is, properly speaking, a Mulatto ; just the 
same as though the relations of race on the part of the parents 
were transposed. When a man of mixed blood marries a woman 
darker than himself, and his children thereby become further re 
moved from the white tint, it is said to be un paso atras (a step 

In Europe it is very common to attach to the term Creole, the 
idea of a particular complexion. This is a mistake. The de 
signation Creole properly belongs to all the natives of America 
born of parents who have emigrated from the Old World, be 
those parents Europeans or Africans. There are, therefore, 
white as well as black Creoles.* 

The subjoined list shows the parentage of the different varieties 
of half-casts, and also the proper designations of the latter : 


White Father and Negro Mother . . Mulatto. 

White Father and Indian Mother . . Mestizo. 

Indian Father and Negro Mother . . Chino. 

White Father and Mulatto Mother . . Cuarteron. 

White Father and Mestiza Mother . . Creole (only distinguished from 

the White, by a pale -brown 
ish complexion). 

White Father and China Mother . . Chino-Blanco. 

White Father and Cuarterona Mother . Quintero. 

White Father and Quintera Mother . White. 

* The term Creole is a corruption of the Spanish word criollo, which is 
derived from criar to create or to foster. The Spaniards apply the term 
criollo not merely to the human race, but also to animals propagated in the 
colonies, but of pure European ulood : thus they have Creole horses, bul 
locks, poultry, &c. 



Negro Father and Mulatta Mother . . Zambo-Negro. 

Negro Father and Mestiza Mother . . Mulatto-Oscuro. 

Negro Father and China Mother . . Zambo-Chino. 

Negro Father and Zamba Mother . Zambo-Negro (perfectly bl k). 

Negro Father and Cuarterona or Quintera 
Mother . Mulatto (rather dark). 

Indian Father and Mulatta Mother . . Chino-Oscuro. 

Indian Father and Mestiza Mother . . Mestizo-Claro (frequently very 


Indian Father and China Mother . Chino-Cholo. 

Indian Father and Zamba Mother . . Zambo-Claro. 

Indian Father and China-Chola Mother . Indian (with rather short frizzy 


Indian Father and Cuarterona or Quintera 
Mother . . . . Mestizo (rather brown). 

Mulatto Father and Zamba Mother . Zambo (a miserable race). 

Mulatto Father and Mestiza Mother Chino (of rather clear com 


Mulatto Father and China Mother . Chino (rather dark). 

Besides the half-casts here enumerated, there are many others, 
not distinguished by particular names, as they do not in color 
materially difler from those above specified. The best criterion 
for determining the varieties is the hair of the women : this is far 
less deceiving than the complexion, for the color of the skin 13 
sometimes decidedly at variance with that characteristic of the 
race. Some of the Mulatta females have complexions brilliantly 
fair, and features which, for regularity, may vie with those of the 
most beautiful women of Europe ; but they bear the unmistakea- 
ble stamp of descent in the short woolly hair. 

The white Creole women of Lima have a peculiar quickness 
in detecting a person of half-cast at the very first glance ; and to 
the less practised observer they communicate their discoveries in 
this way, with an air of triumph ; for they have the very par 
donable weakness of priding themselves in the purity of their 
European descent. Despite the republican constitution, there 
prevails throughout Peru a strong pride of cast, which shows it 
self at every opportunity. In quarrels, for example, the fairer 
antagonist always taunts the darker one about his descent. By 
all the varieties, the white skin is envied, and no one thinks of 
disputing its superiority of rank. The Indian looks with abhor- 



rence on the Negro ; the latter with scorn on the Indio. The 
Mulatto fancies himself next to the European, and thinks that the 
little tinge of black in his skin does not justify his being ranked 
lower than the Mestizo, who after all is only an Indio bruto.* 
The Zambo laughs at them all, and says " if he himself is not 
worth much, yet he is better than his parents." In short, each 
race finds a reason for thinking itself better than another. 

In the commencement of the present chapter I made the obser 
vation that the people of mixed blood unite in themselves all the 
faults without any of the virtues of their progenitors. To this 
general remark, however, the Mestizos form an honorable excep 
tion. They inherit many of the good qualities both of the Whites 
and the Indians. They are mild and affectionate. Their feel 
ings are very excitable, and they readily perform an act of kind 
ness or generosity on the impulse of the moment but they are 
irresolute and timid. They attach themselves affectionately to 
the Whites ; but they are not partial to the Indians, whom they 
regard with some degree of contempt. In Lima their number is 
less considerable than in the interior of the country, where whole 
villages are inhabited solely by Mestizos. In those places they 
style themselves Whites, and hold themselves very much aloof 
from the Indians. One cannot pay them a better compliment 
than to inquire whether they are Spaniards, a question which 
they always answer in the affirmative, though their features are 
plainly impressed with the Indian stamp. The complexion of the 
Mestizos is usually a clear brown ; but in some individuals it has 
a very dark tinge. Their hair is sleek, long, and very strong. 
The women frequently wear their hair in two long plaits descend 
ing nearly to the knees. The men are strongly made, have 
marked features and but very little beard. In Lima they are 
chiefly handicraftsmen and traders. Most of the hawkers (Mer- 
cachifles) in Lima are Mestizos. 

The Mulattos differ very widely from the Mestizos. In person 
they are less strongly made ; but in intellect they are superior to 
any of the half-casts. They possess a very great aptitude for 

* A brutish Indian ; a favorite expression of the Limenos when speaking 
of the Indians, w ho certainly do not merit the compliment. 


mechanical employments, great dexterity and a remarkable de 
gree of imitative talent, which, if well directed, might be brilli 
antly developed. They are exceedingly impressionable, and all 
their feelings are readily exalted into passions. Indifferent to all 
out sensual enjoyments, they indulge in the fleeting pleasure of 
the present moment, and are regardless of the future. There is 
a certain class of Mulattos, who, in a psychological point of view, 
are very remarkable. They are distinguished by the nick-name 
of Palanganas* They are gifted with wonderful memory, and 
after the lapse of years they will repeat, word for word, speeches 
or sermons which they have heard only once. With this extra 
ordinary power of memory, they combine a fertile fancy, and a 
boundless share of self-confidence. Wherever there is anything 
to be seen or heard, the Palanganas never fail to attend, and they 
repeat with the most ludicrous attitudes and gestures all that they 
hear, be it a sermon in church, a speech in Congress, or an ad 
dress delivered at any public solemnity. 

The Mulattos now study theology ; for, since the establishment 
of independence, the Indian law, which prohibited any person of 
mixed blood from entering the ecclesiastical state, is no longer 
observed. Many have devoted themselves to medicine ; and 
most of the physicians in Lima are Mulattos ; but they are re 
markable only for their ignorance, as they receive neither theo 
retical nor clinical instruction. Nevertheless, they enjoy the 
full confidence of the public, who rank the ignorant native far 
above the educated foreigner. The business of a barber is one 
that is much followed by the Mulattos of Lima. In that occupa 
tion they are quite in their element, for they possess all the quali 
fications for which the members of that fraternity are distinguished 
in all parts of the world. 

Among the Mulatto females many are remarkably beautiful 
though they are always wanting in that oval form of the face 
which is the first condition of classic beauty. Their countenances 
are generally round and broad, their features strongly marked, 

* The word Palangana signifies a wash-hand-basin ; but more especially 
the kind of basin used by barbers. Figuratively the term is used to deaig- 
nate an empty babbler 


and their expression impassioned. Their beauty soon fades; 
and as they advance in life the negro character of their features 
becomes distinctly defined. Their hair, which does not grow 
beyond a finger s length, is jet black and frizzy. They plait it 
very ingeniously in small tresses, frequently making more than 
a hundred. Their complexions vary from white to dark-brown ; 
but most of them are dark brunettes, with large black eyes and 
pearl-white teeth. 

Their vanity is quite equal to that of the Negresses, but it is 
combined with a certain degree of taste, in which the latter are 
wanting. The Mulatto women are passionately fond of music, 
singing and dancing. They play the guitar and have pleasing 
voices, but their singing is quite uninstructed. 

The Zambos are the most miserable class of half-casts. With 
them every vice seems to have attained its utmost degree of de 
velopment; and it may confidently be said that not one in a 
thousand is a useful member of society, or a good subject of the 
state. Four-fifths of the criminals in the city jail of Lima are 
Zambos. They commit the most hideous crimes with the utmost 
indifference, and their lawless propensities are continually bring 
ing them into collision with the constituted authorities. In moral 
nature they are below the Negroes ; for they are totally wanting 
in any good qualities possessed by the latter. Their figures are 
athletic, and their color black, sometimes slightly tinged with 
olive-brown. Their noses are much less flat than those of the 
Negroes, but their lips are quite as prominent. Their eyes are 
sunk and penetrating, and their hair very little longer than that 
of the Negroes, but curling in larger locks. The men have very 
little beard. 

The Chinos are but little superior to the Zambos. Indeed, in 
physical formation they are inferior to them, for they are small 
and attenuated. Their countenances are hideously ugly. They 
have the Negro nose and mouth, and the Indian forehead, cheeks 
and eyes. Their hair is black, rough, but less frizzy than that 
of the Mulattos. They are deceitful, ill-tempered, and cruel. 
They never forget an offence, but brood over it till an opportu 
nity, however distant, presents itself for wreaking their vengeance 
Thev are very dangerous enemies. 


Respecting the half-casts of fairer complexion, especially the 
Cuarterones and the Quinteros, there is but little to be said. 
Both physically and morally they approximate closely to the 
whites, among whom they almost rank themselves. 

The majority of the foreigners in Lima, and indeed throughout 
the whole of Peru, are the families of the Spaniards from Europe, 
who emigrated to South America before the war of independence. 
Since the close of that struggle there has been but little emigra 
tion, as the circumstances of the country are not now very fa 
vorable to new settlers. The old Spanish families are for the 
most part landed proprietors or merchants. They are people of 
very temperate habits, but they are passionately fond of gaming, 
and in this respect they have bequeathed a dangerous inheritance 
to the Creoles. The pride and mercenary spirit which distin 
guished the Spaniards before the independence are now broken, 
if not entirely subdued. The intercourse between them and the 
natives, though still somewhat constrained, is every year becom 
ing more and more friendly, as the privileges enjoyed by the 
Spaniards, which were a continued cause of hostile feeling, are 
now removed. 

Next to the Spaniards, the most numerous class of foreigners 
are the Italians. These are chiefly Genoese, and the ma 
jority are run-away sailors and adventurers. They usually be 
gin by setting up a Pulperia (a brandy shop), or a spice shop, 
and gradually extend their traffic until, in the course of a few 
years, they amass money enough to return to their native coun 
try. Some of them make good fortunes and possess extensive 

The French in Lima occupy the same positions as their coun 
trymen in Valparaiso, viz., they are tailors and hair-dressers, 
dealers in jewellery and millinery. 

The English and North Americans, who are much better liked 
by the natives than the French, are chiefly merchants. They 
are the heads of the principal commercial houses, as Gibbs, 
Grawley & Co., Alsop & Co. Templeman and Bergmann, Huth, 
Criming & Co., &c. The enterprising spirit of the English and 
North Americans has led many of them into extensive mining 


speculations, which in some instances have proved very unfortu 

The Germans in Lima are proportionally few. They are dis 
tinguished by their aptitude for business, and many of them fill 
high stations in the great English commercial houses. They 
are held in high esteem by the natives. The general gravity of 
their manners has given rise, among the Limenos, to the saying, 
" Serio como un Aleman "Serious as a German. 

Settlers from the other American republics have of late years 
considerably increased in Lima. After the Chilian expedition, 
many Chilenos established themselves in Peru, and numbers of 
Argentines, escaping from the terrorism of Rosas in Buenos 
Ayres, have taken refuge in Lima. 

Foreigners being in general more industrious and more steady 
than the Creoles, the Limenos readily form connexions with 
them. The ladies generally prefer marrying a Gringo* to a 

I may close this chapter on the inhabitants of Lima, with some 
remarks on the Spanish language as spoken in the capital of 
Peru. The old Spaniards, who brought their various dialects 
into the New World, retain them there unchanged. The Guli- 
cian transposes the letters g and j ; the Catalonian adds an s to 
the final syllables of words, and gives a peculiarly harsh sound to 
the letter j ; the Andalusian rolls the r over his tongue, and im 
parts a melodious expression even to harsh-sounding words ; the 
Biscayan mingles a variety of provincialisms with his own pecu 
liar dialect. The Madrileno (native of Madrid) prides himself 
here, as well as in Europe, in being far superior to the rest of 
his countrymen in elegance of pronunciation. The Creoles, 
however, have gradually dropped the characteristic dialects of 
their progenitors, and have adopted new ones, varying one from 
another in the different South American provinces. The Span 
ish language, as spoken by the natives of Peru, differs widely 

* Gringo is a nickname applied to Europeans. It is probably derived from 
Griego (Greek). The Germans say of anything incomprehensible, " That 
sounds like Spanish," and in like manner the Spaniards say of anything 
they do not understand, " That is Greek." 

t Paisanito is the diminutive of Paisano (Compatriot) 


from the correct and pure morfel of pronunciation. The inhabit, 
ants of the coast have too soft an accent, and they frequently 
confound, one with another, loiters which have a mutual resem 
blance in sound. On the other hand, the people who dwell in 
the mountainous districts speak with a harsh accent, and very 
ungrammatically. As the Swiss force out their guttural tones 
from the lowest depth of their throats, and with the strongest possi- 
ole aspiration, so do the Peruvians of the Cordillera. The in- 
Habitants of the sand flats of North Germany, on the contrary, 
impart a ludicrously soft sound to the harsher consonants ; o.iid 
the same peculiarity is observable in the people who inhabit the 
coast of Peru. 

Of all the inhabitants of Lima, the white Creoles speak the best 
Spanish ; but still their language is far from pure. The ladies 
in particular have the habit of substituting one letter for another 
in certain words; for example, instead of pulso (pulse) they say 
purso, and instead of salsa (sauce) they say sarsa. In other 
words they substitute d for r, saying amod for amor, cavalledo fcu 
cavallero. The II is frequently sounded by the Peruvians like y, 
a blunder which foreigners are also very apt to commit ; for ex 
ample, in the word polio (chicken), which they pronounce as if 
it were spelled poyo, and gallina (hen) they pronounce as if spelled 
gayina. Not only do they confound single letters, but they fre 
quently change whole syllables ; as for instance, in the word 
pared (wall), which they transform into pader. The name of 
the well-known ex-President Orbegoso was, by two-thirds of the 
natives of Lima, pronounced as if written Obregoso. There is no 
word in the Spanish language beginning with an s followed by a 
consonant, and the Limenos, when they attempt to pronounce 
foreign words or proper names commencing in the manner just 
described, never fail to prefix to them the letter e. I know not 
whether in the schools and colleges of old Spain this method of 
prefixing the letter e is adopted in teaching Latin ; but the prac 
tice is universal among the students of all the colleges in Lima. 
For studium they say estitdium ; for spurius, espurius ; for scele- 
ratus, esceleratus, &c. 

To the Limenos the correct pronunciation of these words is 
extremely difficult, and many have assured me that they find it 


impossible to omit the e before the s. Still more arbitrary is 
their conversion of li into k in the words mihi, nihil, &c., which 
they pronounce miki, nikil. 

The colored Creoles, who are generally uneducated, speak the 
Spanish language much more corruptly than the whites. The 
Negroes have a very bad accent. Their tongues seem quite un 
fitted for the pronunciation of the Spanish language, which many 
of them render unintelligible by transposing letters and lopping 
off syllables. 



Primary Schools Colleges The University Monks Saints Santo Tori- 
bio and Santa Rosa Religious Processions Raising the Host The 
Noche Buena The Carnival Paseos, or Public Promenades Ice 
Riding and Driving Horses Their Equipments and Training Mules 
Lottery in Lima Cookery Breakfasts, Dinners, &,c. Coffee-houses 
and Restaurants Markets The Plazo Firme del Jlcho Bull Fights. 

SCHOOLS for primary instruction are numerous in Lima, and 
upon the whole they are tolerably well conducted. There ara 
thirty-six of these primary schools, public and private ; twenty 
for boys, and sixteen for girls ; and altogether about 2000 
pupils* receive in these establishments the first elements of 
juvenile instruction. The principal public institutions of this 
class are the Normal School of Santo Tomas (in which the Lancas- 
terian system is adopted), and the Central School of San Lazaro. 
Each contains from 320 to 350 pupils. Of the private schools, 
some are very well conducted by Europeans. The College of 
Nuestra Sefiora de Guadalupe was founded a few years ago by 
two Spanish merchants. In this establishment the sons of the 
wealthier class of people may receive a better education than 
ihey can obtain in the public schools. There are three Latin 
schools, and the number of pupils attending them amounts to 
about two hundred. 

The College of Santo Toribio is exclusively appropriated to 
students of theology, who are likewise received into the College 
of San Carlos, though the latter is chiefly destined for the study 
of jurisprudence. San Carlos was founded in the year 1770 by 
the Viceroy Amat, who incorporated with it the previously exist 
ing Colleges of San Martin and San Felipe. In the year 1822 

* A very small number in a population of 55,000. 


the Colegio de Esquilache was likewise united to San Carlos, 
which now contains about a hundred students. The building is 
large and commodious, containing spacious halls, a fine refectory, 
and a well-stored library. There are five professors of law and 
two of theology. French, English, geography, natural philosophy, 
mathematics, drawing, and music are like wise taught in this college. 
The annual revenue of the establishment, exclusively of the fees 
paid by the students, amounts to 19,000 dollars. During the war 
of emancipation, this establishment for a time bore the name of 
Colegio de San Martin, in honor of General San Martin, the 
liberator of Chile ; but its original title was soon restored. 

The Colegio de San Fernando was founded in 1810 by the 
Marques de la Concordia, for students of medicine. In the year 
1826 this Institution received the name of Colegio de la Medccina 
de la Indcpendencia, a title which it justly merits, for certainly 
medicine is taught there with a singular independence of all 
rules and systems. The Professors, who themselves have never 
received any regular instruction, communicate their scanty share 
of knowledge in a very imperfect manner to the students. The 
number of the students is between twelve and fifteen, and there 
are two Professors. The clinical lectures are delivered in the 
Hospital of San Andres, to which an anatomical amphitheatre 
was attached in 1792. The heat of the climate renders it ne 
cessary that burials should take place within twenty-four hours 
after death, a circumstance which naturally operates as an im 
pediment to the fundamental study of anatomy. It cannot there 
fore be matter of surprise that the native surgeons should 
have but a superficial knowledge of that important branch of 

In the University of San Marcos no lectures are delivered, and 
the twenty-five Professors chairs aro merely nominal. Honors 
and degrees are however conferred in San Marcos, and the 
.same rules and ceremonies are observed as in the Spanish Uni 
versities. In the departments of medicine and jurisprudence 
there are three degrees ; those of Bachelor, Licentiate, and 
Doctor. In former times the dignity of Doctor was conferred 
with great pomp and solemnity, and the public were admitted in 
large numbers to witness the ceremony. The acquisition of the 


degree of Doctor was then attended by an expense of about two 
thousand dollars, chiefly expended in presents. The new Doc 
tor was required to send to every member of the University, 
from the Bachelors to the Rector, a new dollar, a goblet full of 
ice, and a dish of pastry. 

Lima is overrun with monks, lay and conventual. The mo- 
nastic regulations are not very strict, for the monks are permit 
ted to leave the convents at all hours, according to their own 
pleasure. They avail themselves of this liberty to the utmost 
extent. Friars of various orders are seen in the streets in num 
bers. Most of them are fat Dominicans, who sit in the Portales 
playing at draughts, or lounge in shops staring at the Tapadas 
as they pass by. Many of these ecclesiastics are remarkable far 
their disregard of personal cleanliness ; indeed it would be diiH- 
cult to meet with a more slovenly, ignorant, and common-place 
class of men. They frequent all places of public entertainment, 
the coffee-houses, the chichereas, tho bull -fights, and the thea 
tres : these two last-mentioned places of amusement they visit in 
disguise. The Franciscans and the Mercenarias are little better 
than the Dominicans ; but the Descalzados (barefooted friars) 
lead a somewhat more strict and regular life. To the monks of 
the Buena Muerte belongs the duty of administering the last con 
solation to the dying. Whenever they hear of any person who 
is dangerously ill, they hasten to the house without waiting till 
they are sent for, and they never leave the invalid until he 
either recovers or dies. Day and night they sit by the sick-bed, 
and scarcely allow themselves time for necessary rest and 
refreshment. I have known many of these monks who, from 
long experience and observation, but without any medical 
knowledge, had acquired wonderful shrewdness in determining 
the degree of danger in cases of illness, and who could foretel 
with almost unfailing certainty the moment of dissolution. As 
soon as the patient has breathed his last, the monk utters a short 
prayer, then giving the corpse a knock on the nose, he silently 
takes his departure. I have frequently witnessed this singular 
custom, but I never could discover its origin or motive. The 
habit worn by the monks of Buena Muerte is black, with a largo 
red cross un the breast, and hats witli high conical crowns. 


Many pious natives, or inhabitants of Lima, have been admit 
ted among the number of the saints. Of these the most distin 
guished was the Spaniard Toribio, who, at the beginning of the 
seventeenth century, filled the archiepiscopal chair m Lima. His 
kindness and charity have become proverbial, and his many acts 
of benevolence are still alive in the recollection of the people. 
Of many anecdotes that are related of him, I may here quote 
one. Late one night, the patrol who was on duty in the vicinity 
of the archbishop s palace, met a man in the street carrying a 
heavy load on his back. The challenge, " Who goes there ?" 
was answered by the name " Toribio." The watch, uttering an 
oath, impatiently called out " Que Toribio ?" (What Toribio ?) 
" El de la esquina !" (He who dwells at the corner !) was the 
simple reply. The soldier angrily stepped up to his interlocutor, 
and, to his astonishment, recognized the archbishop, who was 
carrying a sick person to the hospital. 

The saint to whom the Lirnolos render the highest honor, is 
Santa Rosa, the saint of the city. She was a native of Lima, 
and is the only Peruvian female who has attained the honor of 
being ranked among the saints. On the 30th of August, the fes 
tival of Santa Rosa is celebrated with great pomp in the cathe 
dral, and her image, richly bedecked with gold and jewels, is 
carried in solemn procession from Santo Domingo to the Sa- 

Religious processions are among the most favorite amusements 
of the inhabitants of Lima. They are always very numerously 
attended : and it may fairly be said that no merry-making would 
afford the Limenos so much diversion as they derive from these 
pious solemnities. Vast numbers of ladies join the processions 
as Tapadas, indulging in all sorts of coquettish airs, and with 
thoughts evidently bent on any subject but religion. The gen 
tlemen station themselves in groups at the corners of the streets, 
to admire the graceful figures of the Tapadas, whose faces are 
concealed ; and when the procession has passed one corner they 
rush to another, to see it defile a second time ; and in this man 
ner continue moving from place to plo.ce, as if they could never 
see enough of the interesting spectacle. The most brilliant pro 
cessions are those which take place on the festivals of Corpus 


Christi, San Francisco, and Santo Domingo. A very solemn 
procession takes place on the 28th of October, the anniversary 
of the great earthquake of 1746. 

Every morning, at a quarter to nine, the great bell of the ca 
thedral announces the raising of the host, during the performance 
of high mass. Immediately every sound is hushed in the streets 
and squares. Coachmen stop the carriages, riders check their 
horses, and foot-passengers stand motionless. Every one suspends 
his occupation or his conversation, and kneeling down, with head 
uncovered, mutters a prayer. But scarcely has the third solemn 
stroke of the bell ceased to vibrate, when the noise and movement 
are resumed ; the brief but solemn stillness of the few preceding 
moments being thus rendered the more impressive by contrast. 
The same incident is renewed in the evening, between six and 
seven o clock, when the bell sounds for the Angelus (Oraciones). 
The cathedral bell gives the signal, by three slow, measured 
sounds, which are immediately repeated from the belfries of all 
the churches in Lima. Life and action are then, as if by an 
invisible hand, suddenly suspended ; nothing moves but the lips 
of the pious, whispering their prayers. The Oration being ended, 
every one makes the sign of the cross, and says to the person 
nearest him, Buenas noclies (Good night). It is regarded as an 
act of courtesy to allow another to take precedence in saying 
" Good night," and if several persons are together, it is expected 
that the eldest or the most distinguished of the group should be 
the first to utter the greeting. It is considered polite to request 
the person next one to say Buenas noclies ; he with equal civility 
declines ; and the alternate repetition of " diga Vm." (you say it), 
" JVo, Seiior, diga Vm." (No, Sir, you say it), threatens some 
times to be endless. 

The effect produced by the three strokes of the cathedral boll 
is truly astonishing. The half-uttered oath dies on the lips of 
the uncouth negro ; the arm of the cruel Zambo, unmercifully 
beating his ass, drops as if paralyzed ; the chattering mulatto 
seerns as if suddenly struck dumb ; the smart repartee of the 
lively Tapada is cut short in its delivery ; the shopkeeper lays 
down his measure ; the artizan drops his tool ; and the monk 
suspends his move on the draught-board : all, with one accord, 


join m the inaudible prayer. Here and there the sight of a fo 
reigner walking along indifferently, and without raising his hat, 
makes a painful impression on the minds of the people. 

Christmas-night (Noche buena) is a great festival in Lima. The 
streets and squares, especially the Plaza Mayor, are crowded 
with people, amusing themselves in all sorts of ways. Hundreds 
of persons take their seats on the benches of the Plaza ; there 
they regale themselves with sherbet, ices, and pastry, and look 
at the dancing of the negroes, &c. On this occasion the mid 
night mass is performed with extraordinary solemnity. On 
Christmas-day some of the families of Lima get up what are 
called Nacimientos, consisting of symbolical representations of 
the birth of the Saviour. On some of these shows considerable 
expense and ingenuity are bestowed. 

In Carnival time Lima is so unpleasant a place of residence 
that many families retire to the country during that season of 
misrule. One of the favorite sports consists in sprinkling people 
with water ; and from all the balconies various kinds of liquids 
are thrown on the passers-by. Groups of Negroes post them 
selves at the corners of the streets, where they seize people, and 
detain them prisoners, until they ransom themselves by the pay 
ment of a certain sum of money. Those who do not pay the 
money are rolled in the street gutters, and treated in the most 
merciless way ; whilst those who purchase grace escape with 
having a few handfulls of dirty water thrown in their faces. 
Even in private houses, relations and intimate acquaintances are 
guilty of the most unwarrantable annoyances. Parties of young 
men enter the houses of families with whom they are acquainted, 
and begin sprinkling the ladies with scented water. That being 
exhausted, spring water, or even dirty water, is resorted to, so 
that what began in sport ends in reckless rudeness. The ladies, 
with their clothes dripping wet, are chased from room to room, 
and thereby become heated. The consequence is, in many in 
stances, severe and dangerous illness. Inflammation of the 
lungs, ague, rheumatism, &c., are the usual results of these car 
nival sports, to which many fall victims. A year never passes 
in which several murders are not committed, in revenge for of 
fences perpetrated during the saturnalia of the carnival. 


A very favorite trick adopted in carnival lime, for frightening 
people as they pass along the streets, is the following : a sack, 
filled with fragments of broken glass and porcelain, is fastened 
to the balcony by a strong rope, of such a length that, when sus 
pended from the window, the sack is about seven feet above the 
street. The apparatus being all ready, a mischievous negress 
and her amiia (young mistress) watch the passers-by until they 
select one for their victim. The sack is then thrown over the 
front of the balcony, and a deafening crash ensues, though the 
rope prevents its contents from hurting any one. It is well 
known that in almost every street in Lima there is at least one 
balcony ready prepared for the performance of this trick ; yet 
the suddenness of the crash always proves a shock, even to the 
strongest nerves. People start and run to one side of the street, 
and are sometimes so terrified that they drop down ; then loud 
laughter and jeering remarks are heard in the balcony. Every 
year this trick is prohibited by the police, but the prohibition is 
treated with contempt. 

One of the most popular recreations of the Limenos, especially 
of the people of color, is the Paseo de A?nancacs, which takes 
place on St. John s Day. The Amancaes is a gently sloping 
plain, about half a mile north-west of Lima, and it is bounded by 
a semicircular range of hills, which rise from twelve to fifteen 
thousand feet above the level of the sea. During the hot months 
of the year this plain is a parched and barren waste ; but when 
the misty and rainy season sets in, the Amancaes is covered 
with numerous flowers, among which a beautiful yellow lily is 
conspicuous. About the end of June this lily is in full bloom. 
On St. John s Day booths and stalls are fitted up for the sale of 
various kinds of refreshments, and throngs of people of all class 
es and colors are seen riding or walking in the direction of the 
Amancaes. There they amuse themselves with dancing, play 
ing, eating, drinking, and gathering /flowers ; and in the evening 
they return to Lima. It is amusing to see the Mulattas and 
Zarnbas with bouquets of yellow lilies stuck in their heads and 
bosoms. These women crowd into heavily-laden vehicles, be 
side which thoir black cavaliers ride on horseback all Isiushino-, 

<T> O* 

jesting, and giving vent to unrestrained mirth. From the clth 


df June to the end of October, pleasure parties repair on Sundays 
and festival days, either to the Amancaes or to the Lomas. The 
latter is a range of hills a little further from Lima. 

There is no want of promenades in the vicinity of the city. 
Leading from the Callao gate is the fine long avenue of trees I 
have already mentioned. In the suburb of San Lazaro there is 
a fine broad promenade planted with trees, called the dlameda vi~ 
eja, at the end of which is situated the Convent of the Descalzos. 
Along the bank of the Rimac there is a new promenade planted 
with four rows of trees, called the alameda imeva. Behind it the 
Paseo militar, with two rows of trees, extending as far as Piedra 
lisa, on the road to the pleasant village of Lurigancho. On the 
right of these promenades is the river, on the left the pyramidal 
hill, of the Cerro de San Cristoval. At the extremity of the Ala 
meda nueva are the Puquio.* These baths are within a long 
low-roofed building, covered on the top with straw mats. 

On summer evenings the bridge and the Plaza Mayor are vis 
ited by throngs of promenaders who there enjoy the refreshing 
breeze, which, after sunset, is wafted from the Cordilleras, along 
the surface of the Rimac. After the hour of the Oradones 
(evening prayers), the bridge is crowded with gentlemen, who 
walk up and down whilst the ladies sit in the rotundas built 
above each of the piers. Long rows of promenaders are seen 
moving to and fro, either going to the Alamcdas, or returning 
from thence to the Plaza, to obtain refreshments. Before the 
Portal de los Escribanos, on the Plaza Mayor, tables are laid 
out with lemonade, almond milk and ices. The promenaders 
sit down on benches, which are placed round these tables, and 
partake of refreshments, none of which, however, are so delicious 
as the cool breeze after the sultry heat of the day. 

To the inhabitants of Lima, ice is one of the necessaries of 
life : it is considered so indispensable, that a scarcity of it, during 
several days, would be sufficient to excite popular ferment. In 
all revolutions, therefore, the leaders carefully avoid calling into 
requisition the service of the mules employed in the transport of 
ice. h is obtained in the Cordilleras, at the distance of about 

* Puquio in the Quichua language signifies springs. 


twenty-eight leagues from Lima. The Indians who ascend the 
glaciers break the ice into blocks of about six arobas in weight, 
which are lowered by ropes down the declivity of the mountain. 
The women and children then cover the blocks of ice with Ichu 
grass (Joara ichu, II. P.), after which they are drawn by another 
party of Indians to a depot, about two leagues distant, where they 
are packed on the backs of mules. Each mule carries two 
blocks. Thirty mules form what is called a Recua, which daily 
proceeds from the ice depot to Lima. At intervals of two or 
three miles there are stations where relays of mules are in readi 
ness. The operations of unloading and reloading are performed 
with the utmost possible speed, and the mules are driven at a 
brisk trot, wherever the roads will admit of it. In the space of 
eighteen or twenty hoursj the ice reaches Lima, and as may be 
expected, considerably reduced in weight by melting. The 
average loss on two blocks of ice is about one hundred pounds.* 
The daily consumption of ice in Lima is between fifty and fifty- 
five cwt. About two-thirds of that quantity is used for preparing 
ices, most of which are made of milk or pine-apple juice. Ice 
is hawked about the streets of Lima for sale, and all day long 
Indians, carrying pails on their heads, perambulate the streets, 
crying helado. 

The ladies of Lima, when they make visits, seldom go on foot. 
They generally ride in the caleza, a very ugly kind of vehicle, 
being nothing more than a square box raised on two high wheels, 
and drawn by a mule, on whos 3 back a negro in livery is 
mounted. Many of the older calezas, instead of being painted 
on the outside, are covered with variegated paper. The calezin 
is a prettier kind of carriage, and is drawn by two horses or 
mules. Taste in the article of carriages is, however, improving 
in Lima, and several very elegant ones have been recently intro 

Within the last few years a regular line of omnibuses has 
been established between Callao and Lima. From each of those 

* These fine blocks of ice clearly refute the assertion made by some travel 
lers, that the first real glaciers are found in 19 S. lat. The extensive fields 
of ice from which the blocks in question are brought are situated in 11 
14 S. lat. 



cities an omnibus starts daily, at eight in the morning and at four 
in the afternoon, and the journey occupies an hour and a half. 
To Miraflores, Chorillos, Lurin, and other places on the coast, 
the conveyance is by a balanzin, a sort of caleza, drawn by three 
horses harnessed abreast. This balanzin is one of the most awk 
ward vehicles ever invented, and the slightest shock it sustains 
is felt with double force by the persons riding in it. At greater 
distances from the capital, the want of proper roads renders the 
employment of vehicles a matter of difficulty. Even along the 
coast to the south of Lima, a journey of about forty leagues can 
not be accomplished without vast difficulty and expense. On 
such a journey it is usual for a train of sixty or eighty horses to 
accompany the carriage ; and it is found necessary to change 
the horses every half-hour, owing to the difficulty of drawing the 
carriage through the fine quicksand, which is often more than a 
foot deep. A Peruvian planter, who was accustomed to take his 
wife every year on a visit to his plantation, situated about thirty- 
.wo leagues from Lima, assured me that the journey to and fro 
always cost him 1400 dollars. 

During the brilliant period of the Spanish domination, incredi 
ble sums were frequently expended on carriages and mules. 
Not unfrequently the tires of the caleza wheels and the shoes of 
the mules were of silver instead of iron. 

In Peru, riding is a universal custom, and almost every person 
keeps one or more horses. The ladies of Lima are distin 
guished as graceful horsewomen. Their equestrian costume 
consists of a white riding-habit, trowsers richly trimmed with 
lace, a fine white poncho, and a broad-brimmed straw hat. 
Some of the females of the colored races make use of men s sad 
dles, and display great skill in the management of the most un 
ruly horses. 

The horse-trappings used in Peru are often very costly. On 
the coast and in the interior, I have sometimes seen head-gear, 
bridle, and crupper, composed of finely-wrought silver rings, 
linked one into another. The saddle is frequently ornamented 
with rich gold embroidery, and the holster inlaid with gold. The 
stirruos are usually the richest portion of the trappings. They 
are made of carved wood, and are of pyramidal shape ; about a 


foot high and a foot broad at the base. In front and at the sides 
they are close, and are open only at the back in the part where 
the foot rests. The edges are rimmed with silver, and the top 
of the stirrup is surmounted by a bell of the same metal, with a 
ring through which the straps are passed. A priest with whom 
I was acquainted in the Sierra, got a saddle and a pair of stirrups 
made for me. The silver ornaments on the stirrups alone 
weighed forty pounds. The decorations of the saddle were of 
corresponding richness. The value of the silver on both saddle 
and stirrups was about 1500 dollars. The spurs used in Peru 
are of colossal magnitude. Old custom ordains that they must 
contain three marks (a pound and a half) of silver. The stir 
rup-bow is broad and richly wrought; the ornaments being either 
of the pattern called hueso de tollo,* or of that styled hoja de laurel 
con semilla.^ The rowel is one and a half or two inches in 
diameter, and the points are about twenty-five or thirty inches 

In the bridle, the bit and the snaffle are in one piece, and the 
reins are brought together by being passed through a ring, to 
which the long riding- whip is also fastened. The head-band and 
reins are commonly composed of narrow slips of untanned calf 
or sheep-skin, plaited together, and ornamented with silver 
buckles. The saddle is short and narrow, and exceedingly awk 
ward to riders unaccustomed to it. The front bolster is four or 
five inches high, and inclines backward ; the hind one is lower, 
and is curved forward in the form of a half-moon ; the interven 
ing space just affording sufficient room for the thighs of the rider, 
who, in a saddle of this construction, is so firmly fixed that he 
cannot possibly fall. These saddles have, however, one great 
disadvantage, viz., that if the horse starts off at a gallop, and the 
rider has not time to throw himself back in his seat, he is forced 
against the front saddle-bolster with such violence that some fatal 
injury is usually the consequence. Under the saddle is laid a 
horse-cloth, called the pellon, about a yard long, and a yard and 
a half wide. The common sort of pellones are composed cf two 

* A sort of arabesque resembling the backbone of a fish called the 
f Laurel leaves and seed. 


rough sheep-skins, sewed together. In the finer kind, the 
raw wool is combed out, and divided into numberless little twists. 
of about the length of one s finger ; so that the pellon resembles 
the skin of some long-haired animal. The finest Peruvian peU 
lones are made of a mixture of sheep s wool and goat s hair. 
Between the saddle and the pellon are fastened the saddle-bags 
(alforjas), which, on long journeys, are filled with provisions and 
other necessaries. These bags are made either of leather or 
strong woollen cloth ; finally, the trappings of a Peruvian horse 
are not complete without the halter (kaquima), which is orna 
mented in the same manner as the bridle. The halter-strap 
(cabresto) is wound round the front bolster of the saddle, and by 
it the horse may be fastened whenever the rider alights, without 
the use of the reins for that purpose. At first a foreigner is apt 
to regard the equipments of a Peruvian horse as superfluous and 
burthensome ; but he is soon convinced of their utility, and, 
when the eye becomes familiar to them, they have a pleasing 

The pure-bred Peruvian horse is more elegantly formed than 
his Andalusian progenitor. He is of middling size, seldom ex 
ceeding fourteen hands high. He has a strong expanded chest, 
slender legs, thin pasterns, a short muscular neck, a rather 
large head, small pointed ears, and a fiery eye. He is spirited, 
docile, and enduring. It is only in a few plantations that the 
purity of the race is preserved, and the animals fostered with due 
care. The common horse is higher, leaner, less broad on the 
chest, and with the crupper thinner and more depressed. He is, 
however, not less fiery and capable of endurance than the horse 
of pure breed. The most inferior horses are ill-looking, small^ 
and rough-skinned. 

On the coast of Peru the horses are for the most part natural 
amblers, and, if they do not amble naturally, they are taught to 
do so. There are several varieties of amble peculiar to the Pe 
ruvian horse ; the most approved is that called the paso llano. 
It is very rapid, but not attended by any jolting motion to the 
rider. A well-trained horse may safely be ridden by a young 
child at the paso llano ; the motion being so gentle and regular, 
that the rider may carry a cup of water in his hand without 


spilling a drop, at the same time going at the rate of two leagues 
an hour. Another variety of ambling is called the paso portanle. 
It consists in the fore and hind foot of one side being raised simul 
taneously, and thrust forward. In this movement, the greater 
or less speed depends on the degree in which the hind foot is 
advanced in comparison with the fore one. It is a rapid, rocking 
sort of motion, and for long continuance is much more wearying 
to the rider than the common trot, as the body cannot be held 
upright, but must be kept in a constant stooping position. The 
speed of a good ambler in the paso portante is so great, that he 
will outstrip another horse at full gallop. The giraffe, as well as 
the Peruvian horse, has this peculiar movement naturally. The 
paso compariero is merely a nominal modification of the paso por 
tante. Many horses have no paso llano, but in its stead a short 
trot. These have naturally the paso portante, but they are little 
esteemed for travelling, though they are good working animals. 
They are called cavallos aguelillos. Trotting horses cannot be 
taught the paso llano, though they easily acquire the paso portante. 
These are called cavallos trabados. 

In Peru a horse is valued less for beauty of form than for the 
perfection of his amble. The finest trotters are sold at very low 
prices, and are used exclusively as carriage horses. If a horse 
when spurred has the habit of flapping his tail, it is considered a 
serious fault, and greatly depreciates the value of the animal. 
This vice is called mosquear (literally brushing off the mosqui 
toes), and the Peruvians cure it by an incision in the muscle of 
the tail, by which means the horse is disabled from making the 

The Peruvians take very little care of their horses. The re- 
mark, that the more the horse is tended, the worse he is, would 
secrn to be a generally admitted truth in Peru. The stable 
(coral) is either totally roofless, or very indifferently sheltered. 
In the mountainous parts of the country, and during the rainy 
season, horses are frequently, for the space of six months, up to 
their knees in mud, and yet they never seem to be the worse for 
it. The fodder consists of lucern (alfalfa), or maisillo, which is 
usually thrown down on the ground, though sometimes placed in 
a stone trough, and the drink of the animals consists of impure 


water collected from the ditches at the road sides. Occasionally 
the horses are fed with maize, which they are very fond of. As 
no oats are grown in Peru, barley is given together with maize, 
especially in the interior of the country. Mares and geldings 
have sometimes the hair between the ears cut off quite closely, 
and the mane arranged in short curls, which gives them a resem 
blance to the horses in ancient sculpture. Mares are but little 
valued, so little indeed, that no respectable person will ride one. 

The horse-breakers (clialanes) are generally free men of color. 
They possess great bodily vigor, and understand their business 
thoroughly ; but they use the horses very cruelly, and thereby 
render them shy. For the first three years foals are suffered to 
roam about with perfect freedom ; after that time they are sad 
dled, an operation not performed without great difficulty, and 
sometimes found to be impracticable, until the animal is thrown 
on the ground and his limbs tied. The young horse under the 
management of the clialan is trained in all sorts of equestrian 
feats, especially the art of pirouetting (vottear). This consists in 
turning either wholly or half round on the hind legs with great 
rapidity and when at full gallop. Another important object of 
the chalan is to teach the horse to stop short suddenly, and to 
stand perfectly motionless (sentarse) at the signal of his rider ; 
and to go backward (cejar} for a considerable space in a straight 
line. When all this is accomplished, the horse is regarded as 
completely broken (quebrantado). 

As an instance of the certainty with which a Peruvian horse 
will make a pirouette (votiata) at the signal of his rider, I may 
mention the following fact, which occurred under my own obser 
vation. A friend of mine, in Lima, rode at full gallop up to the 
city wall (which is scarcely nine feet broad), leaped upon it, and 
then made his horse perform a complete voltata, so that the fore 
feet of the animal described the se ment of a circle beyond the 
edge of the wall. The feat he performed several times in suc 
cession, and he assured me he could do the same with all his 

Peruvian taste requires that the neck of the horse should pre 
sent a finely-curved outline, and that the mouth should be drawn 
inward, so as to approach the breast. The horses called Cavallos 


de Brazo are much esteemed. At every step they describe a 
large circle with their fore-feet, in such a manner that the horse 
shoe strikes the lower part of the stirrup. This motion is ex. 
ceedingly beautiful when combined with what is termed the 
" Spanish pace," in which the noble form of the animal and his 
proud bearing are advantageously displayed. 

The mule is a very important animal in Peru. The badness 
of the roads would render commercial communication imprac 
ticable, were it not for mules. The Peruvian mules are fine, 
strong animals. The best are reared in Piura, and sent to Lima 
for sale. The amblers are selected for the saddle, the trotters 
for harness, and the rest are used as beasts of burthen. The 
price of a mule of middling quality is one hundred dollars ; a 
better one double or treble that price ; and the very best may 
even cost ten times as much. The endurance of these animals 
under fatigue and indifferent nurture is extraordinary, and with 
out them the vast sand plains of Peru would present insuperable 
obstacles to intercourse between one place and another. In the 
power of continuous ambling they exceed the horses, and are often 
equal to them in speed. 

In Lima there is a public lottery, which the Government farms 
to a private individual, for a considerable sum. The tickets are 
drawn weekly. The price of a ticket is one real. The largest 
prize is 1000 dollars ; the smaller prizes 500, 250, or 100 dollars. 
A lottery on a larger scale is drawn every three months. The 
highest prize in this lottery is 4000 dollars, and the price of the 
ticket is four reals. To every ticket is affixed a motto, usually 
consisting of an invocation to a saint, and a prayer for good luck, 
and at the drawing of the lottery this motto is read aloud when 
the number of the ticket is announced. Few of the inhabitants 
of Lima fail to buy at least one ticket in the weekly lottery. 
The negroes are particularly fond of trying their luck in this 
way, and in many instances fortune has been singularly kind to 

" Eating and drinking keep soul and body together." So says 
the German proverb ; and it may not be uninteresting to take a 
glance at the Limenos during their performance of these two im. 
Dortant operations. The hour of breakfast is generally nine in 


the morning. The meai consists of boiled mutton (Sancochado), 
soup (Caldo), with yuccas, a very pleasant-tasted root, and Chupe. 
This last-mentioned dish consists, in its simplest form, merely of 
potatoes boiled in very salt water, with cheese and Spanish pep 
per. When the chupe is made in better style, eggs, crabs, and 
fried fish are added to the ingredients already named ; and it is 
then a very savory dish. Chocolate and milk are afterwards 
served. A negress brings the Chocolatera into the breakfast-room, 
and pours out a cup full for each person. The natives prefer 
the froth to the actual beverage ; and many of the negresses are 
such adepts in the art of pouring out. that they will make the cup 
so overflow with foam, that it contains scarcely a spoonful of 
liquid. Chocolate is the favorite beverage of the Peruvians. In 
the southern parts of the country it is customary to offer it to 
visitors at all hours of the day. The visitor is no sooner seated 
than he is presented with a cup of coffee, which is often so thick 
that the spoon will stand upright in it. It would be a breach of 
politeness to decline this refreshment, and whether agreeable or 
not it must be swallowed ! 

The best cocoa is obtained from the Montanas of Urubamba, 
and from the Bolivian Yungas. The long land transport, how. 
ever, renders it very dear, and therefore the nuts brought from 
Guayaquil are those commonly used in Lima. 

Dinner, which takes place about two or three in the afternoon, 
commences with a very insipid kind of soup. This is followed 
by the Puchero, which is the principal dish. Puchero, made in 
its best style, contains beef, pork, bacon, ham, sausage, poultry, 
cabbage, yuccas, camotes (a sort of sweet potato), potatoes, rice, 
peas, choditas (grains of maize), quince and banana. When 
served up, the different kinds of meat are placed in one dish, and 
the vegetable ingredients in another. I was at first astonished at 
the poorness of the soups in Lima, considering the quantity of 
meat used in preparing them ; but I soon discovered that the 
SOUP served up to table was little more than water, and that the 
strong gravy of the meat was either thrown away or given to the 
negroes. There prevails an almost universal belief that the 
liquor in which the meat is first stewed is injurious to health. 
Only a very few families are sufficiently free from this prejudice 


to allow the strong gravy to be used in the preparation of caldo, 
&c. The Puchero is an excellent and nutritious dish, and would 
in itself suffice for a dinner, to which, however, in Lima, it is 
merely the introduction. Roast meat, fish, vegetables, preserves 
and salad are afterwards served. Another dish not less indis 
pensable to a Lima dinner than puchcro, is picante. Under this 
denomination are included a variety of preparations, in which a 
vast quantity of cayenne pepper is introduced. The most favorite 
picantcs are the calapulcra, the lagua, the zango, the charquican, 
the adobas, the picante de ullucos, &c. The calapulcra is com 
posed of meat and potatoes dried and finely pounded ; the lagua 
is made of maize flour and pork ; the zango, of the same ingredi 
ents, but differently prepared ; the adobas consists of pork alone ; 
and the picante de ullucos is made of a root resembling the potato, 
cut into small square bits. These dishes, though much too highly 
seasoned for European palates, are considered great dainties by 
the Limeilos. All the picantcs have a very red color, owing to 
the quantity of cayenne used in preparing them ; the achote 
grains, which are also used, produce a beautiful vermilion tint. 
Another dish, common on the dinner-table in Lima, is called 
ensalada de frutas. It is a most heterogeneous compound, con 
sisting of all sorts of fruits stewed in water. To none but a 
Limanian stomach could such a mixture be agreeable. The 
dessert consists of fruits and sweets (dukes). The Limeno must 
always drink a glass of water after dinner, otherwise he imagines 
the "repast can do him no good ; but to warrant the drinking of 
the water, or, as the phrase is, para tomar agua, it is necessary 
first to partake of dukes. The one without the other would be 
quite contrary to rule. The dulces consist of little cakes made 
of honey or of the pulp of the sugar-cane ; or they are preserved 
fruits, viz., pine-apple, quince, citron, and sometimes preserved 
beans or cocoa-nut. There is also a favorite kind of dulce made 
from maize, called masamora. 

The Peruvians have some very singular prejudices on the sub 
ject of eating and drinking. Every article of food is, according 
to their notions, either heating (caliente), or cooling (frio) ; and 
they believe that certain things are in opposition one to another, 
or, as the Limenos phrase it, se oponen. The presence in the 


stomach of two of these opposing articles of food, for example, 
chocolate and rice, is believed to be highly dangerous, and some 
times fatal. It is amusing to observe the Limenos when at din- 
ner, seriously reflecting, before they taste a particular dish, 
whether it is in opposition to something they have already eaten. 
If they eat rice at dinner, they refrain from drinking water, be 
cause the two things se oponen. To such an extreme is this no 
tion carried, that they will not taste rice on days when they have 
to wash, and laundresses never eat it. Frequently have I been 
asked by invalids whether it would be safe for them to take a 
foot-bath on going to bed, as they had eaten rice at dinner ! 

The white Creoles, as well as all the superior class of people 
in Lima, are exceedingly temperate in drinking. Water and a 
kind of sweet wine are their favorite beverage ; but the lower 
classes and the people of color are by no means so abstemious. 
They make free use of fermented drinks, especially brandy, 
chicha, and guarapo. The brandy of Peru is very pure, and is 
prepared exclusively from the grape. On the warm sea coast, 
the use of this liquor is not very injurious; there, its evil effects 
are counteracted by profuse perspiration. But one half the 
quantity that may be drunk with impunity on the coast, will be 
very pernicious in the cool mountainous regions. An old and 
very just maxim of the Jesuits is, " En pais caliente, aguardiente ; 
en pais frio, aguafria " (in the warm country, brandy ; in the 
cold country, water). 

Guarapo is a fermented liquor, made of sugar-cane pulp and 
water. It is a very favorite beverage of the negroes. There 
are several kinds of guarapo. The best sorts are tolerably agree 
able. Chicha is a sort of beer prepared from maize. The seeds 
of the maize are watered and left until they begin to sprout, after 
which they are dried in the sun. When sufficiently dry they 
are crushed, boiled in water, and then allowed to stand till fer 
mentation takes place. The liquid is of a dark yellow color, 
and has a slightly bitter and sharp taste. Chicha is likewise 
made from rice, peas, barley, yuccas, pine-apples, and even bread. 
The kind most generally used is that made from maize. Even 
before the Spanish conquest of Peru, this maize beer was the 
common beverage of the Indians. In Lima there are some very 


dirty and ill-arranged restauralions, styled picanterias. These 
places are divided by partitions into several small compartments, 
each of which contains a table and two benches. The restaura 
teur, usually a zambo or a mulatto, prides himself in the superi 
ority of his picantes and his chicha. The most motley assem 
blages frequent these places in the evening. The Congo negro, 
the grave Spaniard, the white Creole, the Chino, together with 
monks and soldiers, may be seen, all grouped together, and de 
vouring with evident relish refreshments, served out in a way not 
remarkable for cleanliness. Brandy and guarapo are likewise 
sold in shops which are to be met with at the corner of almost 
every street. The coffee-houses are very inferior j most of them 
are very dirty, and the attendance is wretched. 

Every street in Lima contains one or more cigar shops, in 
which mestizos and mulattos are busily employed in making 
cigars. Smoking is a universal custom, and is practised every 
where except in the churches. The cigars used in Lima are 
short, and the tobacco is rolled in paper, or in dried maize leaves. 
The tobacco is brought from the northern province, Jaen de 
Bracamoras, in very hard rolls called masos, about a yard long 
and two inches thick. Another kind of cigars is made of Peru 
vian or Columbian tobacco. They are scarcely inferior to the 
Havannah cigars, and would be quite equal to them, if they were 
kept long enough and well dried : but in Lima they are smoked 
within a few hours after being made. When any one wants to 
light his cigar in the street, he accosts the first smoker he hap 
pens to meet, whatever be his color, rank, or condition ; and 
asks him for a light. The slave smokes in the presence of his 
master, and when his cigar dies out, he unceremoniously asks 
leave to relight it at his master s. It has been calculated that 
the daily cost of the cigars smoked in Lima and the immediate 
vicinity amounts to 2,300 dollars. 

Formerly the market was held on the Plaza Mayor, and was 
always abundantly supplied with vegetables, fruit, and flowers. 
Now it is held in the Plazuela de la Inquisicion, and it is very 
inferior to what it used to be. Along the sides of the Plaza are 
stalls kept by women, who sell sausages and fish. The central 
part of the market is appropriated to the sale of vegetables, of 


which there is always an excellent supply. Facing the Palace 
of the Inquisition are the butchers shops. The meat is good, 
though not very plentifully displayed. The most abundant 
kinds of meat are mutton and beef. The slaughtering of young 
animals being strictly prohibited by law, veal, lamb, and suck 
ing pigs are never seen in the market. The daily consumption of 
butcher s meat in Lima is about twenty-eight or thirty heads of 
horned cattle, and between one hundred and sixty and two hun 
dred sheep. Pork, neither fresh nor cured, is seen in the 
market ; though great numbers of swine are slaughtered. The 
fleshy parts of the animal are cut into small square pieces, and 
boiled ; the fat or lard is used in cookery, and the pieces of pork, 
which are spread over with lard, are called chicharones, and are 
held in high esteem by Limanian epicures. There is an abun 
dant show of poultry in the market, especially fowls and turkeys, 
which are brought from Huacho. Game is never sold, and but 
very little is obtained in the neighborhood of Lima. The flower 
market, which is held on the Plaza Mayor, is but sparingly sup 
plied with the gifts of Flora. The ladies of Lima recal pleasing 
recollections of the former glory of their flower market, and speak 
with regret of its present degenerate condition. The much- 
vaunted pucheros de fores are still occasionally displayed for 
sale. They are composed of a union of fragrant fruits and 
flowers. Several small fruits are laid on a banana leaf, and 
above them are placed odoriferous flowers, tastefully arranged 
according to their colors : the whole is surmounted with a straw 
berry, and is profusely sprinkled with agua rica, or lavender 
water. These pucheros are very pleasing to the eye, on account 
of the tasteful arrangement of the flowers ; but their powerful 
fragrance affects the nerves. They vary in price, according to 
the rarity of the fruits and flowers of which they are composed. 
Some cost as much as six or eight dollars. A puchcro de fores 
is one of the most acceptable presents that can be offered to a 
Lima lady. 

A mingled feeling of disgust and surprise takes possession of 
the European who witnesses the joy which pervades all classes 
of the inhabitants of Lima on the announcement of a bull-fight. 
For several days the event is the exclusive topic of conversation, 


and, strange to say, the female portion of the population takes 
greater interest in it than the men. Bills notifying the approach 
ing entertainment are stuck up at the corners of the streets ; and 
every one is anxious to obtain a lista de los toros. When the 
season of the toros* commences, a bull-fight takes place every 
Monday, and then the whole city of Lima is thrown into a state 
of indescribable excitement. The ladies prepare their finest 
dresses for the occasion, and they consider it the greatest possible 
misfortune if anything occurs to prevent them going to the bull- 
fight : indeed, a Monday passed at home in the season of the 
toros would be regarded as a lost day in the life of a Limeiia. 
Those who cannot go to the corrida, resort to the bridge, or to the 
Alameda, where they sit and amuse themselves by looking at the 
throngs of people passing and repassing. 

In the time of the Viceroys, bull-fights frequently took place 
on the Plaza Mayor. Now there is a place expressly built for 
these entertainments, called the Plaza firme del Acho. It is a 
spacious amphitheatre without a roof, and is erected at the end 
of the new avenue of the Alameda. The preparations for the 
sport commence at an early hour in the morning. Along the 
Alameda are placed rows of tables covered with refreshments, 
consisting of lemonade, brandy, chicha, picantes, fish, dulces, 
&c. About twelve o clock, those who have engaged places in 
the amphitheatre begin to move towards the Plaza del Acho. 

Most European ladies would turn with horror, even from a 
description of these cruel sports, which the ladies of Lima gaze 
on with delight. They are barbarous diversions, and though 
they form a part of national customs, they are nevertheless a 
national disgrace. At the same time it would be unjust to make 
this love of bull-fighting a ground for unqualified censure on the 
Limenos, or a reason for accusing them of an utter want of 
humanity. Being accustomed to these diversions from early 
childhood, they regard them with perfect indifference ; and 
custom, no doubt, blinds them to the cruelties they witness in the 
bull -ring. The same extenuation may be urged in behalf of the 

* Toros (Bulls) is used by way of contraction for Corrida de Toros 
(Bull Course). 


women : and though to most of the Limefias a bull-fight affords 
the highest possible gratification, yet there are some who form 
honorable exceptions to this remark, and who, with true femi 
nine feeling, shrink with horror from such scenes. 

Peru is the only one of the South American states in which 
bull-fights are included in the category of public amusements. 
As Peru was the last to answer the cry of independence, and to 
shake off the yoke of Spanish domination, so she adheres with 
most tenacity to the customs of the mother country ; for she has 
not the energy requisite for developing a nationality of her own. 
Even here is apparent that want of independence of character for 
which the Peruvians are remarkable. The faults of the 
Spaniards in them become vices, because, in imitating without 
reflecting, they push everything to an extreme. Thus, if bull 
fights are cruel in Spain, they are barbarous in Lima. The 
government, too, finds it expedient to court popularity by favor 
ing public entertainments, among which bull-fights take the lead. 
By allowing the people to indulge unrestrainedly in all their 
favorite amusements, the government gains a two- fold object, 
viz., that of securing the support, if not the love of the people, 
and of averting public attention from political affairs. These, it 
must be confessed, are important objects in a country which, 
like Peru, is continually disturbed by revolutions caused by the 
outbreaks of a turbulent populace, or an undisciplined army. 



Geographical Situation of Lima Height above Sea level Temperature 
Diseases Statistical Tables of Births and Deaths Earthquakes The 
Valley of Lima The River Rimac Aqueducts, Trenches, &c. Irriga 
tion Plantations Cotton Sugar Various kinds of Grain Maize 
Potatoes, and other tuberous roots Pulse Cabbage Plants used for 
Seasoning Clover The Olive and other Oil Trees Fruits Figs and 
Grapes The Chirimoya The Palta The Banana and other Fruits. 

LIMA, according to the careful observations made by Herr Scholtz, 
is situated in 1*2 8 24" south latitude, and 77 8 30" west Ion- 
gitude from Greenwich. It may, however, be mentioned that 
the longitude from Greenwich is very differently stated. In sea 
charts and Manuals of Geography it is often marked 76 50 . 
Humboldt makes it 77 5 5" ; and Malaspina 77 6 45". Ac- 
cording to Ulloa it is 70 37 X west of Cadiz. The latitude is 
very generally fixed at 12 2 3" south. The height above the 
level of the sea is also differently estimated. Rivero, in the 
Memorial de Ciencias Naturaks, I., 2, page 112, states it to be 
154 metres, or 462 French feet. On another occasion he makes 
it 184f Castilian varas (each vara being equal to 33 inches Eng 
lish). He gives the following account of heights, according to 
the barometer, between Callao and Lima, in varas, viz., Callao, 00 ; 
Baquijano, 24f ; La Legua, 50J ; Mirones, 94|, ; Portada del 
Callao, 150 ; Plaza de Lima, 184-*-. 

The first estimate given by Rivero is the most correct. Gay 
makes the height of Lima, at the corner of the church of Espi- 
ritu Santo, 172-2 Castilian varas ; but most of his heights are in 
correctly stated. 

The conical hill in the north-east of Lima, called Cerro de 
San Cristoval, is, according to trigonometrical measurements, 
made in 1737, by Don Jorge Juon, and De la Condamines, 312 
varas higher than the Plaza Mayor, or 134 toises above the sea ; 


but one of the most exact measurements is Pentland s, who found 
the height to be 1275 English feet. 

The average temperature during the hottest period of the year, 
from December to March, is 25C. The medium temperature 
during the cold season, from April to November, 17-5 C. High 
est rise of the hygrometer, 21-5. 

The low temperature of Lima at the distance of only twelve 
degrees from the Equator is to be ascribed to the situation of the 
town, and the prevailing atmospheric currents. The Cordilleras, 
rising at the distance of only twenty-eight Spanish leagues east of 
the city, are crowned with eternal snow ; and on the west the sea 
is distant only two leagues. The prevailing wind blows from 
the south-south-west. West winds are not very common, though 
they sometimes blow with extraordinary violence for those re 
gions, and breaking on the surrounding mountains, they form 
atmospheric whirlwinds, which diffuse alarm through the whole 
population. In June, 1841, I had the opportunity of observing 
one of these dreadful whirlwinds, which swept away huts, and 
tore up trees by the roots. The atmospheric currents from the 
north, which pass over the hot sand-flats, are not of constant oc 
currence, but they are oppressively sultry. There must be other 
causes for the low temperature of Lima, for in the villages, only 
a few miles from the city, and exposed to the same atmospheric 
influences, it is much higher. 

Miraflores is a small place, about one Spanish league and a 
half from Lima, but it is much hotter. Among the records of 
the thermometer are the following : 

December 20 to 27, maximum 31-8 C. ; minimum, 25-9 C. 

December 28, at 6 in the morning, 26-0 C. ; at 2 P.M., 32-7 
C. ; at 10 at night, 27-3 C. 

January 1, at 2 P.M., 33-1 C., maximum of the day. 

January 18, at 2 P.M., maximum 34-2 C. 

A comparison with the temperature of Lima, on the same 
days, gives an average of 5-7 C. of heat in favor of Miraflores. 

The River Rimac, which rises among the glaciers of the Cor 
dilleras, and after a course of no great length, intersects the city, 
doubtless contributes to cool the atmosphere. 

The climate of Lima is agreeable, but not very healthy. Dur- 


ing six months, from April to October, a heavy, damp, but not 
cold mist, overhangs the city. The summer is always hot, but 
not oppressive. The transition from one season to another is 
gradual, and almost imperceptible. In October and November 
the misty canopy begins to rise ; it becomes thinner, and yields 
to the penetrating rays of the sun. In April the horizon begins 
to resume the misty veil. The mornings are cool and overcast, 
but the middle of the day is clear. In a few weeks after, the 
brightness of noon also disappears. The great humidity gives rise 
to many diseases, particularly fevers, and the alternations from 
heat to damp cause dysentery. On an average, the victims to 
this disease are very numerous. It is endemic, and becomes, 
at apparently regular but distant periods, epidemic. The inter 
mittent fevers or agues, called tercianos, are throughout the whole 
of Peru very dangerous, both during their course and in their 
consequences. It may be regarded as certain that two-thirds of 
the people of Lima are suffering at all times from tercianos, or 
from the consequences of the disease. It usually attacks foreign 
ers, not immediately on their arrival in Lima, but some years 
afterwards. In general the tribute of acclimation is not so soon 
paid by emigrants in Lima as in other tropical regions. 

In consequence of the ignorance of the medical attendants, 
and the neglect of the police, the statistical tables of deaths are 
very imperfectly drawn up, and therefore cannot be entirely de 
pended upon. I may, however, here subjoin one of them, which 
will afford the reader some idea of the mortality of Lima. 

The annual number of deaths in Lima varies from 2,500 to 

In the ten months, from the 1st of January to the 30th of Oc 
tober, 1841, the number of marriages was 134, of which 4fi 
were contracted by whites, and 88 by people of color. 














Fevers, chiefly intermittent 





Typhus . 





Pulmonary Consumption . 





Inflammation of the Lungs . 





Dropsy, tor the most part a conse- > 
quence of intermittent fevers ) 





Hooping-cough . 



Small Pox 




Sudden death 








Various Diseases 









The number of births were : 

In marriage 
Not in marriage 








842 ; 840 


The number of births not in marriage (860) is remarkable, 
and no less so is the number of dead children exposed, which, 
during the above interval, was 495. These are most decided 
proofs of the immorality and degraded state of manners prevail 
ing in Lima, particularly among the colored part of the popula 
tion. Though there is no certain evidence of the fact, yet there 
is reason to conjecture that a considerable number of those in 
fants are destroyed by the mothers. Of the children born out of 
marriage, nearly two-thirds, and of those exposed dead, full four- 
fifths are Mulattos. 

The important annual surplus of deaths over births is a matter 
of serious consideration for Lima. The above tables show, in the 
course often months, a surplus of 562 deaths. By a comparison 
of the lists of births and deaths from 1826 to 1842, I find that on 
an average there are annually 550 more deaths than births. It 
would lead me too far to endeavor to investigate all the grounds 


of this disparity, but I may observe that one of the causes, un 
questionably, is the common, though punishable crime of pro 
ducing abortion. 

Along the whole coast of Peru the atmosphere is almost uni 
formly in a state of repose. It is not illuminated by the light- 
ning s flash, or disturbed by the roar of the thunder : no deluges 
of rain, no fierce hurricanes destroy the fruits of the fields, and 
with them the hopes of the husbandman. Even fire appears 
here to have lost its annihilating power, and the work of human 
hands seems to be sacred from its attack.* But the mildness of 
the elements above ground is frightfully counterbalanced by their 
subterranean fury. 

Lima is frequently visited by earthquakes, and several times 
the city has been reduced to a mass of ruins. At an average 
forty-five shocks may be counted on in a year. Most of them 
occur in the latter part of October, in November, December, 
January, May, and June. Experience gives reason to expect 
the visitation of two desolating earthquakes in a century. The 
period between the two is from forty to sixty years. The most 
considerable catastrophes experienced in Lima since Europeans 
have visited the west coast of South America, happened in the 
years 1586, 1630, 1687, 1713, 1746, 1806. There is reason to 
fear that in the course of a few years this city may be the prey 
of another such visitation. 

The slighter shocks are sometimes accompanied by a noise ; 
at other times, they are merely perceptible by the motion of the 
earth. The subterraneous noises are manifold. For the most 
part they resemble the rattling of a heavy loaded wagon, driven 
rapidly over arches. They usually accompany the shock, sel 
dom precede it, and only in a few cases do they follow it ; sound 
ing like distant thunder. On one occasion the noise appeared to 
me like a groan from the depth of the earth, accompanied by 

* A great fire is a thing almost unknown in Lima. The houses are of 
brick, and seldom have any wooden beams, so there is little food for a fire. 
The only fire which I heard of in Lima was that of the 13th January, 1835, 
when the interior of the Capilla del Milagro of San Francisco was de 
stroyed. The repairs cost 50,000 dollars. On the 27th November, 1838, 
it was again solemnly consecrated. 


sounds like the crepitation of wood in partitions when an old 
house is consumed by fire. 

Of the movements, the horizontal vibrations are the most fre 
quent, and they cause the least damage to the slightly-built habi 
tations. Vertical shocks are most severe ; they rend the walls, 
and raise the houses out of their foundations. The greatest ver. 
tical shock I ever felt was on the 4th, of July, 1839, at half-past 
seven in the evening, when I was in the old forests of the Chan- 
chamoyo territory. Before my hut there was an immense stem 
of a felled tree, which lay with its lower end on the stump of the 
root. 1 was leaning against it and reading, when suddenly, by 
a violent movement, the stem rose about a foot and a half, and I 
was thrown backwards over it. By the same shock the neigh 
boring river, Aynamayo, was dislodged from its bed, and its 
course thereby changed for a considerable length of way. 

I have had no experience of the rotatory movements of earth 
quakes. According to the statements of all who have observed 
them, they are very destructive, though uncommon. In Lima I 
have often felt a kind of concussion, which accords with that 
term in the strictest sense of the word. This movement had 
nothing in common with what may be called an oscillation, a 
shock, or a twirl : it was a passing sensation, similar to that 
which is felt when a man seizes another unexpectedly by the 
shoulder, and shakes him ; or like the vibration felt on board a 
ship when the anchor is cast, at the moment it strikes the ground. 
I believe it is caused by short, rapid, irregular horizontal oscilla 
tions. The irregularity of the vibrations is attended by much 
danger, for very slight earthquakes of that kind tear away joists 
from their joinings, and throw down roofs, leaving the walls 
standing, which, in all other kinds of commotion, usually suffer 
first, and most severely. 

. Humboldt says that the regularity of the hourly variations of 
the magnetic needle and the atmospheric pressure is undisturbed 
on earthquake days within the tropics. In seventeen observa 
tions, which I made during earthquakes in Lima with a good 
Lefevre barometer, I found, in fifteen instances, the position of 
the mercury quite unaltered. On one occasion, shortly before a 
commotion, I observed it 2-4 lines lower than it had been two 

EARTHQUAKE OF 1746. 117 

hours before. Another time, I observed, also on the approach 
of the shock and during the twelve following hours, a remarkable 
rising and sinking in the column. During these observations the 
atmosphere was entirely tranquil. 

Atmospheric phenomena are frequent, but not infallible prog 
nostics of an earthquake. I have known individuals in Lima, 
natives of the coast, who were seldom wrong in predicting an 
earthquake, from their observation of the atmosphere. In many 
places great meteors have been seen before the commotion. Be 
fore the dreadful earthquake of 1746, there were seen fiery va- 
vors (exhalaciones cncendidas) rising out of the earth. On the 
island of San Lorenzo these phenomena were particularly re 

Many persons have an obscure perception a foreboding, 
which is to them always indicative of an approaching earthquake. 
They experience a feeling of anxiety and restlessness, a pressure 
of the breast, as if an immense weight were laid on it. A mo 
mentary shudder pervades the whole frame, or there is a sudden 
trembling of the limbs. I, myself, have several times experi 
enced this foreboding, and there can scarcely be a more painful 
sensation. It is felt with particular seventy by those who have 
already had the misfortune to have been exposed to the dangers 
of an earthquake. 

I will here only briefly mention the celebrated earthquake of 
1746, as all its details are fully described in many publications. 
The reader need scarcely be reminded that it happened on the 
28th of October, the day of St. Simon and St. Jude. During 
the night, between ten and eleven o clock, the earth having 
begun to tremble, a loud howling was heard, and, in a few 
minutes, Lima became a heap of ruins. The first shock was so 
great, that the town was almost completely destroyed by it. Of 
more than 3000 houses, only twenty-one remained. Still more 
horrible was the destruction in the harbor of Callao. The move 
ment of the, earth had scarcely been felt there, when the sea, 
with frightful roaring, rushed over the shore, and submerged 
the whole town, with its inhabitants. Five thousand persons 
were instantly buried beneath the waves. The Spanish corvette 
San Fermin, which lay at anchor in the port, was thrown over 


the walls of the fortress. A cross still marks the place where 
the stern of the vessel fell. Three merchant vessels, heavily 
laden, suffered the same fate. The other ships which were at 
anchor, nineteen in number, were sunk. The number of lives 
sacrificed by this earthquake has not been, with perfect accu 
racy, recorded.* Humboldt, in his Cosmos, mentions that during 
this earthquake a noise like subterraneous thunder was heard at 
Truxillo, eighty-five leagues north of Callao. It was first ob 
served a quarter of an hour after the commotion occurred at 
Lima, but there was no trembling of the earth. According to 
the old chronicle writers, the earthquake of 1630 was more dis 

The serious commotions which take place on the Peruvian 
coast appear to acquire progressively greater extension, but only 
in the southern and northern directions. A shock, of which 
Lima is the centre, though felt fifty leagues towards the north, 
and as far towards the south, may, nevertheless, be imperceptible 
in the easterly direction (towards the mountains) at the distance 
of ten or twelve leagues. This peculiarity is made manifest, 
not only by the terraqueous oscillations, but also by the undula 
tions of the sound, which usually proceeds still further in a direc 
tion towards the sou;h or the north. 

Slight shocks are usually only local, and are not felt beyond 
the limits of a few square miles. 

The atmospheric phenomena during and after earthquakes are 
very different. In general, the atmosphere is tranquil, but occa 
sionally a stormy agitation is the harbinger of a change. I was 
unexpectedly overtaken by a violent commotion on the sand-flat 
between Chancay and Lima. The whole surface of the plain 
presented a kind of curling movement, and on every side small 
columns of sand rose, and whirled round and round. The mules 
stopped of their own accord, and spread out their legs as for sup- 

* The date of this catastrophe recalls the following passage in Schiller i 
William Tell : 

" s ist heut Simons und Juda 
Da ras t der See und will sein Opfer haben." 

** Tis the festival of Simon and Jude, 
And the lake rages for its sacrifice." 


port and to secure therme! e& against apprehended danger. The 
arieros (mule-drivers) leaped from their saddles, threw them 
selves on their knees beside the animals, and prayed to heaven 
for mercy. 

The effect of earthquakes on the fertility of the soil is some 
times remarkable. Numerous observations tend to show that 
after violent commotions luxuriant lands often become barren 
wastes, and for several years produce no thriving vegetation. 
Several Quebradas in the province of Truxillo, formerly remark 
able for their fertility in grain, were left fallow for twenty years 
after the earthquake of 1630, as the soil would produce nothing. 
Similar cases occurred at Supe, Huaura, Lima, and Yea. All 
kinds of grain appear to be very susceptible to the changes pro 
duced by earthquakes. Cases are recorded in which, after 
slight shocks, fields of maize in full bloom have withered ; and 
in the course of a day or two the crops have perished. 

The causes of the frequent earthquakes on the coast of Lima 
are involved in an obscurity too deep to be unveiled. That they 
are connected with volcanic phenomena seems probable. Lima 
is more than ninety leagues distant from the nearest active vol 
cano, that of Arequipa. But the earthquakes of the Peruvian 
capital are uniformly independent of any state of activity in that 
volcano, and it is certain that the town of Arequipa, which lies 
at the foot of the mountain, experiences fewer earthquakes than 
Lima. Of the six serious earthquakes, the dates of which I have 
mentioned, only that of 16S7 stands in connection with a decided 
shock in Arequipa, and an eruption of the volcano. Earthquakes 
are of rarer occurrence in the mountainous districts than on the 
coast, yet Huancavellica, Tarma, Pasco, Caramarca, have been 
visited by heavy shocks ; and within a recent period the village 
Quiquijana, in the Province of Quipichanchi, Department of 
Cusco, suffered from a serious commotion. In a letter from an 
eye-witness I received the following account of it. 

" In November, 1840, the earth began to move faintly back 
arid forward, and a dull, distant, subterraneous noise continued 
without interruption. The first powerful shock occurred on the 
23d of December. During the whole month of January, 1&41, 
heavy thunder prevailed, but without any motion of the earth. 


On February llth, we again had a smart shock, and from that 
day the vibrations recommenced, which, strange enough, were 
always most violent on Mondays and Thursdays. The subter 
raneous noise resounded incessantly ; but it was heard only in 
the village ; for at the distance of half a league from it all was 
tranquil. The heaviest shocks were felt in a circuit within the 
radius of three leagues. From May 21st to June 2d, all was 
tranquil ; after the last-mentioned date the vibrations recom 
menced, and frequently became heavy commotions. They con 
tinued until the middle of July, 1841. From that time we have 
not been disturbed, and we have now returned to the ruins of 
our village." 

The volcano of Arequipa, which is forty-five leagues distant 
from Quiquijana, manifested, during the whole of this time, no 
unusual phenomena, a circumstance which speaks forcibly 
against the idea of any local connection between the earth 
quake and the volcano. 

On most men earthquakes make a powerful and extraordinary 
impression. The sudden surprise, often in sleep, the imminent 
danger, the impossibility of escape, the dull subterraneous noise, 
the yielding of the earth under the feet, altogether make a 
formidable demand on the weakness of human nature. 

Humboldt in the Cosmos truly observes " What is most won 
derful for us to comprehend is the undeception which takes place 
with respect to the kind of innate belief which men entertain of 
the repose and immovability of the terrestrial strata." And 
further on he says " The earthquake appears to men as some 
thing omnipresent and unlimited. From the eruption of a crater, 
from a stream of lava running towards our dwellings, it appears 
possible to escape, but in an earthquake, whichever way flight is 
directed the fugitive believes himself on the brink of destruc 
tion !" No familiarity with the phenomenon can blunt this feel 
ing. The inhabitant of Lima who, from childhood, has fre 
quently witnessed these convulsions of nature, is roused from his 
sleep by the shock, and rushes from his apartment with the cry 
of " Misericordia ! " The foreigner from the north of Europe, 
who knows nothing of earthquakes but by description, waits with 
impatience to feel the movement of the earth, and longs to hear 


with his own ears the subterraneous sounds which he has hither- 
to considered fabulous. AVith levity he treats the apprehension 
of a coming convulsion, and laughs at the fears of the natives. 
But as soon as his wish is gratified he is terror-stricken, and is 
involuntarily prompted to sock safety in flight. 

In Lima, the painful impression produced by an earthquake is 
heightened by the universality of the exercise of the devotions 
(plegarias} on such a calamity. Immediately on the shock being 
felt, a signal is given from the cathedral, and the long-measured 
ten-minute tellings of all the church bells summon the inhabit 
ants to prayers. 

Taking a comprehensive view of the whole coast of Peru, we 
perceive that Lima lies in one of those oases which break the 
continuity of the extensive sand-flats. These valleys present 
themselves wherever a river, after a short course from the Cor 
dilleras, falls into the sea ; they are always fan-shaped widen- 
ings of the mountain ravines. The valley of Lima lies in the 
widest extension of the Quebrada of Mutucamas. This narrow 
gorge, which has its main direction from E.N.E. to W.S.W., 
widens at Cocachacra, and extends into San Pedro Mama, where 
the Quebrada of San Geronimo unites with it. It then runs 
down to the coast, extending more and more in width, and is in 
tersected by the Rimac.* This river rises in two branches, the 
largest of which has its source in some small lagunes, in the 
upper part of Antarangra, on a height 15,600 feet above the level 
of the sea. The second and shorter branch takes its source from 
a small lake in the heights of Carampoma, flows through the val 
ley of San Geronimo, and near San Pedro unites with the Ri 
mac. The most considerable streams of the south-eastern con- 

* RIMAC is the present participle of rimay, to speak, to prattle. The 
river and the valley were known by this name among all the ancient Indi 
ans. The oracle of a temple with an idol, which stood in the neighborhood 
of the prent city of Lima, conferred the name. It is said that before 
the time of the Incus persons suspected of magic were banished to the val 
ley of the Rinric, ou which account it obtained the name of Rimac-malca, 
that is, the WITCHES-VALLEY. This account, which is given by some 
early travellers, requires farther historical and philological inquiry, before 
its correctness can be admitted. 



fluence are those which rise in the heights of Carhuapampa, and 
near Tambo de Viso, flow into the main stream. During winter 
the Rimac is very inconsiderable, but when the rainy season sets 
in it swells greatly, and in the upper regions, particularly be 
tween Surco and Cocachacra, causes great devastations. In the 
lower part where the bed becomes broad and the banks are nol 
much built on, no considerable damage occurs. 

Several small conduits are brought from the Rimac, some for 
giving moisture to fields, and others for filling the street trenches 
of Lima. The water for supplying the fountains of the Capital 
does not, however, come from the river, but from two springs 
situated 1 J league from Lima in a thicket near an old Indian 
settlement, called Santa Rosa, in the valley of Surco. They are 
inclosed within a building called the Puello, or Atarrea, whence 
the waters are conveyed by a subterraneous trench to the Reser 
voir (Ccija de Santa Tomas), from which it is distributed by pipes 
to 112 public and private fountains. During the insurrection of 
the Indians in 1781, which was instigated by the unfortunate Ca 
cique Don Jose Gabriel Tupac Amaru, one of the sworn deter 
minations of the participators in that very extensive conspiracy 
was to drive the Spaniards out of Lima by artifice or force. 
Among the numerous plans for accomplishing that object, I 
will mention two which have reference to the water of Lima. 
One scheme was to poison the whole of the inhabitants. For 
this purpose a rich Cacique of the vale of Huarochirin went to 
an apothecary near the bridge, and asked for two hundred weight 
of corrosive sublimate, saying that he would pay well for it. 
The apothecary had not entire confidence in the Indian, but he 
did not think it right to forego the opportunity of making a very 
profitable sale ; so, instead of the sublimate, he made up the 
same quantity of alum for the Cacique and received the price he 
demanded. Next morning all the water in Lima was unfit for 
use. On examination it was found that the enclosure of the Atar 
rea was broken down, and the source saturated with alum. The 
offender remained undiscovered. 

The second plan was formed with more circumspection. The 
conspirators resolved on a certain day to send into the city a 
number of Indians, who were to conceal themselves on the roofs 


of the shops (Pulperias), in which quantities of firewood were kept 
for sale. The moment the cathedral struck the hour of midnight, 
the concealed Indians were to set fire to the wood. Another 
division of Indians was immediately to dam up the river at the 
convent of Santa Clara, and thereby lay the streets under water. 
During the unavoidable confusion, which must have taken place, 
the main body of the Indians was to enter the town and massacre 
all the whites. This well-combined plan was by mere accident 
discovered, when it was of course frustrated. 

The fertility of the soil round Lima is very great when irriga 
tion is practicable. Where this cannot be accomplished, the 
earth withholds even the most scanty vegetation. The riego, or 
irrigation, is thus effected. On certain days the water conduits 
are closed, and the fields are laid under water. When there is 
a deficient supply of water, the trenches, or conduits, are not 
opened till the following day. When, however, the supply of 
water is abundant, the riego takes place early every morning. 

As the same identical plants are cultivated along almost the 
whole coast, I will here notice them, to save the necessity of re 
turning to them hereafter. 

COTTON is cultivated only in a few plantations in the immedi 
ate vicinity of Lima ; but it abounds more in the northern dis 
tricts, particularly in the department de la Libertad, in the coast 
province Piura, in Lambayeque, and in Truxillo. In the south 
ern province, Yea, a considerable quantity is also reared for ex 
portation. The brown cotton was chiefly cultivated in the time 
of the Incas. Most of the bodies found in the ancient graves on 
the coast are enveloped in this kind of cotton. 

The SUGAR CANE is cultivated with success in all plantations 
where there is sufficient moisture of soil ; and of all the agricul 
tural produce of the country, yields the greatest profit. The 
sugar estates lie on the sea-coast, or along the banks of rivers. 
The vertical limit of the sugar cane growth is on the western 
declivity of the Cordilleras, about 4500 feet above the level of 
the sea, at which height I saw fields covered with it. The larg 
est plantations, however, do not rise above 1200 feet above the 
level of the sea ; while those of the same extent on the eastern de 
clivity are at the height of 6000 feet. Within the last forty years 


the introduction of the Otaheitan cane has greatly improved the 
Peruvian plantations in quality, and has more especially increas 
ed the quantity of their produce ; for the Otaheitan canes are 
found to yield proportionally one third more than the West India 
canes, which were previously cultivated. 

The preparation of the sugar is, as yet, conducted in a very 
rude and laborious manner. In most of the plantations the cane 
is passed through wooden presses with brass rollers. These ma 
chines are called trapiclies or ingenios. They are kept in motion 
by oxen or mules. In some large estates water power is em- 
ployed, and in San Pedro de Lurin a steam-engine has been put 
up, which certainly does the work quickly ; but it often has to 
stand for a long time idle. A part of the sugar cane juice is 
used for making the liquor called guarapo, or distilled for making 
rum ; for since the independence, the law which strictly prohibit 
ed the distillation of spirituous liquors in plantations has been re 
pealed. The remainder is boiled down into a syrup, or further 
simmered until it thickens into cakes, called chancacas, or brown 
sugar. After a careful purification it is made into the white 
cakes called alfajores, or prepared as white sugar. In fineness 
of grain and purity of color it is inferior to the Havannah sugar, 
which, however, it exceeds in sweetness. The regular weight of 
the sugarloaf is two arobas ; only for convenience of transport 
into the mountainous districts their weight is sometimes diminish 
ed. The consumption of sugar in the country is great and its 
export is considerable, but it goes only to Chile. 

Of the different kinds of grain, maize is most generally and 
lo^st successfully cultivated in Peru. It grows on the sandy 
shore, in the fertile mountain valleys, and on the margin of the 
forest, where the warmth is great. There are several varieties 
of maize, which are distinguished one from another by the size 
of the head and by the form and appearance of the grain. The 
most common kinds on the coast are 1st, the Mais Morocho, 
which has small bright yellow or reddish brown grains ; 2d, the 
Mais Amarillo, of which the grain is large, heart-shaped, solid 
and opaque ; 3d, Mais Amarillo de Chancay, similar to the Mais 
Amarillo, but with a semi-transparent square-shaped grain, and 
an elongated head. The Morocho and Amarillo maize are 


chiefly planted in the eastern declivity of the Andes. They run 
up in stalks eight or nine feet high, and have enormously large 
heads. In one of them I counted seventy-five grains in a single 

Maize forms the bread of the Peruvians. It is almost the only 
sustenance of the Indians of the mountains, and is the principal 
food of the slaves on the coast. Like the potatoe in Europe, it is 
cooked in a variety of ways. Two of the most simple prepara 
tions of maize are those called cliodas and mote. Choclas are the 
unripe maize heads merely soaked in warm water ; they form a 
very agreeable and wholesome article of food. Mote consists of 
ripe maize first boiled and then laid in hot ashes, after which the 
husks are easily stripped off. 

As to whether maize is indigenous to Peru, or when it was 
introduced there, much has already been written, and I shall 
refrain from entering into the investigation of the question here. 
I may, however, mention that I have found very well preserved 
ears of maize in tombs, which, judging from their construction, 
belong to a period anterior to the dynasty of the Incas ; and these 
were fragments of two kinds of maize which do not now grow in 
Peru. If I believed in the transmigration and settlement of 
Asiatic races on the west coast of America, I should consider it 
highly probab e that maize, cotton, and the banana, had been 
brought froir. Asia to the great west coast. But the supposed 
epoch of this alleged immigration must carry us back to the ear- 
liest ages ; for, that the Incas were (as the greater number of 
inquirers into Peruvian history pretend) of Asiatic origin, is a 
mere vague hypothesis, unsupported by anything approximating 
to historical proof. 

Since the earthquake of 1687 the crops of maize on the Peru 
vian coast have been very inconsiderable. In the mountainous 
parts it is somewhat more abundant, but still far from sufficient 
to supply the wants of the country. Chile supplies, in return for 
sugar, the maize required in Peru. Of the other kinds of grain 
barley only is raised ; but it does not thrive on the coast, and is 
cultivated successfully at the height of from 7000 to 13,200 feet 
above the level of the sea. The assertion of some travellers, that 
barley was known to the Peruvians before the arrival of the 


Spaniards, is groundless. It is true that barley is sometimes 
found in pots in Indian graves. Those graves, however, as I 
nave had repeated opportunities of being convinced, belong, 
without exception, to modern times, chiefly to the seventeenth 

Potatoes are not planted on the coast, where, it appears, the 
climate and soil are unfavorable to them. In those parts they 
are small and watery. On the higher ridges which intersect the 
coast at short distances from the sea, the potatoe grows wild. I 
am inclined to believe that the root is indigenous in these parts, 
as well as in Chiloe and Chile, and that the ancient Peruvians 
did not obtain this root from the south, but that they removed it 
from their own high lands in order to cultivate it on a more 
favorable soil.* The best potatoe grows about twenty-two 
leagues from Lima, in Huamantanga, which is about 7000 feet 
above the level of the sea, to the north-west of the Quebrada of 
Canta. This potatoe is small and round, with a thin white skin, 
and when bisected the color is a clear bright yellow. It is called 
the Papa amarilla, and there is much demand for it in the mar 
kets, where it fetches a good price. The other potatoes come 
chiefly from the Quebrada of Huarochirin, and they are very 
well flavored. 

The Camotes (Convolvulus batatas, L.), not improperly called 
sweet potatoes, grow to a considerable size. There are two 
kinds of camotes, the yellow and the violet ; the latter are called 
Camotes moradas. These two kinds are much liked for their 
excellent flavor. Beyond the height of 3500 feet above the level 
.of the sea they cease to grow. 

The Aracacha (Conium moschatujn, H. B. Kth.) grows on the 
coast, but it is more abundant on the projecting ridges of the 
Cordilleras, and on the eastern declivity of the Andes. It is a 
very agreeable and nutritive kind of tuberous vegetable, in fla 
vor not unlike celery. It is cooked by being either simply boiled 
in water, or made into a kind of soup. In many districts the 
aracacha yields two crops in the year. 

* The Quichua language has no word for potatoe, but in the Chinchay- 
auyo language, which is spoken along the whole coast of Peru, the potatoe 
is called rfcsu. 


The Yucca (Jatropha manihot) is one of the finest vegetables 
of Peru. The stalk of the plant is between five and six feet 
high, and about the thickness of a finger. The roots are from 
one to two feet long, somewhat of the turnip form. Internally 
they are pure white ; but the external skin is tough, somewhat 
elastic, and of a reddish-brown color. The roots are the edible 
parts of the plant. They are very agreeable in taste, and easy 
of digestion. When raw they are hard and tough, and their 
taste somewhat resembles chestnuts. When boiled in water the 
root separates into fibres, and is rather waxy, but when laid in 
hot ashes it becomes mealy. 

In some parts of Peru the Indians prepare a very fine flour 
from the yucca, and it is used for making fine kinds of bread, and 
especially a kind of biscuits called biscochuelos. The yucca roots 
are not good after they have been more than three days out of the 
earth, and even during that time they must be placed in water, 
otherwise green or black stripes appear on them, which in the 
cooking assume a pale red color. Their taste is then disagreea 
ble, and they quickly become rotten. 

To propagate the yucca the stalk is cut, particularly under the 
thick part, into span-long pieces, which are stuck obliquely into 
the earth. In five or six months the roots are fit for use, but they 
are usually allowed to remain some time longer in the earth. 
The stalks are sometimes cut off, and the roots left in the earth. 
They then put forth new leaves and flowers, and after sixteen or 
eighteen months they become slightly woody. The Indians in 
the Montana de Vitoc sent as a present to their officiating priest 
a yucca, which weighed thirty pounds, but yet was very tender. 
On the western declivity of the Cordillera, the boundary eleva 
tion for the growth of the yucca is about 3000 feet above the 
level of the sea. 

Among the pulse there are different kinds of peas (garlanzos) 
on the coast ; beans (frijoks), on the contrary, occupy the hilly 
grounds. All vegetables of the cabbage and salad kinds cultivat 
ed in Europe will grow in Peru. The climate, both of the coast 
and the hills, suits them perfectly; but the hot, damp tempera 
ture of the eastern declivity of the Andes is adverse to them. 
Numerous varieties of the genus CucurUta are cultivated in the 


chacras, or Indian villages, on the coast. They are chiefly con 
sumed by the colored population. 1 did not find them very 
agreeable to the taste. They are all sweetish and fibrous. 

Among the edible plants which serve for seasoning or spicery, I 
must mention the love-apple ( Tomate), which thrives well in all the 
warm districts of Peru ; and the Spanish pepper (Aji), which is 
found only on the coast and in the mild woody regions. There 
are many species of the pepper (Capsicum annuum, baccatum, fru- 
tescens, $-c.), which are sometimes eaten green, and sometimes 
dried and pounded. In Peru the consumption of aji is greater 
than that of salt ; for with two-thirds of the dishes brought to table, 
more of the former than of the latter is used. It is worthy of 
remark that salt diminishes, in a very striking degree, the pun 
gency of the aji ; and it is still more remarkable that the use of 
the latter, which in a manner may be called a superfluity, has no 
injurious effect on the digestive organs. If two pods of aji, steeped 
in warm vinegar, are laid as a sinapism on the skin, in the space 
of a quarter of an hour the part becomes red, and the pain in 
tolerable ; within an hour the scarf-skin will be removed. Yet 
I have frequently eaten twelve or fifteen of these pods without 
experiencing the least injurious effect. However, before I accus 
tomed myself to this luxury, it used to affect me with slight 
symptoms of gastritis. On the eastern declivity of the Cordilleras 
I found no capsicum at a greater height than 4800 feet above the 
level of the sea. 

Lucern (Medicago saliva), called by the natives alfa or alfalfa, 
is reared in great abundance throughout the whole of Peru, as 
fodder for cattle. It does not bear great humidity, nor severe 
heat or cold; yet its elevation boundary is about 11,100 feet 
above the level of the sea. On the coast it flourishes very 
luxuriantly during the misty season; but during the months of 
February and March it is almost entirely dried up. The maisillo 
(Paspalum purpureum, R.) then supplies its place as fodder for 
cattle. In the mountainous districts it is also most abundant 
during the humid season ; but, as soon as the first frost sets in, 
it decays, takes a rusty-brown color, and remains in a bad state 
until the beginning of the rainy season. On an average, the 
alfalfa may be cut four times in the year ; but in highlying dis 


tricts only three times ; and in humid soils on the coast, particu 
larly in the neighborhood of rivers, five times. Once in every 
four or five years the clover-fields are broken up by the plough, 
and then sown with maize or barley. In the sixth year clover is 
again raised. 

The olive-tree is cultivated chiefly in the southern provinces 
of the coast. In flavor, its fruit approximates to the Spanish olive. 
That the oil is not so fine is probably owing to the bad presses 
which are used, and the rude manner in which the operation is 
performed. The olives (Aceytunas) are preserved in a peculiar 
manner. They are allowed to ripen on the tree, when they are 
gathered, slightly pressed, dried, and put up in small earthen 
vessels. By this process they become shrivelled and quite black. 
When served up at table pieces of tomato and aji are laid on them : 
the latter is an excellent accompaniment to the oily fruit. Some 
preserve them in salt water, by which means they remain plump 
and green. 

The castor-oil plant (Ricinus communis} grows wild, but it is 
also cultivated in many plantations. The considerable quantity 
of oil which is pressed out of the seeds is used unpurified in Lima 
for the street lamps, and also in the sugar plantations, for greas 
ing the machines employed in the works. The purified Ricinus 
oil required for medicine is imported from England or Italy. 

The Pifioncillo tree (Castiglionia lobata, R.) is cultivated only 
about Surco, Huacho, and Lambayeque, in some of the Indian 
chacras ; but it grows wild in considerable abundance. Its bean- 
like fruit, when roasted, has an agreeable flavor. When eaten 
raw, the etherial oil generated between the kernel and the epi 
dermis is a strong, and its effect can only be counteracted 
by drinking cold water. When an incision is made in the stem, 
a clear bright liquid flows out ; but after some time it becomes 
black and horny like. It is a very powerful caustic, and retains 
its extraordinary property for years. 

The fruits of the temperate climates of Europe thrive but 
indifferently in the warm regions of the coast of Peru. Apples 
and pears are for the most part uneatable. Of stone fruits only 
the peach succeeds well. Vast quantities of apricots (called 
duraznos) grow in the mountain valleys. Of fifteen kinds which 


came under my observation, those called blanquillos and abridores 
are distinguished for fine flavor. Cherries, plums, and chestnuts 
I did not see in Peru, yet I believe the climate of the Sierra is 
very favorable to their growth. Generally speaking, the interior 
of the country is well suited to all the fruits and grain of central 
Europe ; and doubtless many of our forest trees would flourish 
on those Peruvian hills which now present no traces of vegeta 
tion. But as yet no system of transplantation has been seriously 
set on foot. The praiseworthy attempts made by many Europeans, 
who have sent seeds and young plants to Peru, have failed of suc 
cess, owing to the indifference of the natives to the advancement 
of those objects. 

All the fruits of southern Europe thrive luxuriantly in the 
warm regions of Peru. Oranges, pomegranates, lemons, limes, 
&c., grow in incredible abundance. Though the trees bloom 
and bear fruit the whole year round, yet there are particular 
times in which their produce is in the greatest perfection and 
abundance. On the coast, for example, at the commencement of 
winter, and in the woody districts in the months of February and 
March, melons and Sandyas (water melons) are particularly fine. 

The figs are of two kinds : the one called Higos, and the other 
Brevas. In the former the pulp is red, in the latter it is white. 
They are usually large, very soft, and may be ranked among the 
most delicious fruits of the country. Fig-trees grow frequently 
wild in the neighborhood of the plantations and the Chacras: and 
the traveller may pluck the fruit, and carry away a supply for 
his journey ; for, beyond a certain distance from Lima figs are 
not gathered, being a fruit not easy of transport in its fresh state ; 
and when dried, it is not liked. Pomegranates and quinces 
seldom grow on the coast : they are chiefly brought to the Lima 
market from the neighboring Quebradas. The mulberry-tree 
flourishes luxuriantly and without cultivation ; but its fruit is not 
thought worth gathering, and it is left as food for the birds. In 
the southern province of Yea, the cultivation of the vine has been 
attended by most successful results. In the neighborhood of 
Lima grapes are seen only in a few Huertas (orchards) ; but for 
size, sweetness, and aromatic flavor, there are no such grapes in 
any other part of the world. 


Of tropical fruits, the number is not so great in Peru as in the 
more northerly district of Guayaquil. But there are some Pe 
ruvian fruits, the delicious flavor of which cannot be excelled. 
One of these is the Chirimoya (Anona tripetala). Hanke, in one 
of his letters, calls it " a master- work of Nature." It would 
certainly be difficult to name any fruit possessing a more exqui 
site flavor. 

In Lima the Chirimoya is comparatively small, often only the 
size of an orange. Those who have tasted it only in Lima, can 
form but a very imperfect idea of its excellence. In Huanuco, 
its indigenous soil, it grows in the greatest perfection, and often 
attains the weight of sixteen pounds, or upwards. The fruit is of 
roundish form, sometimes pyramidal, or heart-shaped, the broad 
base uniting with the stem. Externally it is green, covered with 
small knobs and scales, and often has black markings like net 
work spread over it. When the fruit is very ripe, it has black 
spots. The skin is rather thick and tough. Internally, the fruit 
is snow-white and juicy, and provided with a number of small 
seeds well covered with a delicate substance. The Chirimoyas 
of Huanuco are also distinguished from those of the coast by hav 
ing only from four to six seeds; whereas on the coast they are 
found with from twenty-five to thirty. The question as to what 
the taste of this fruit may be compared with, I can only answer 
by saying, that it is incomparable. Both the fruit and flowers of 
the Chirimoya emit a fine fragrance, which, when the tree is 
covered with blossom, is so strong as to be almost overpowering. 
The tree which bears this finest of all fruits is from fifteen* to 
twenty feet higii. It has a broad flat top, aud is of a pale-green 

The Palta (Persea gatissima, Gart.) is a fruit of the pear form, 
and dark-brown in color. The rind is tough and elastic, but not 
very thick. The edible substance, which is soft and green, en 
closes a kernel resembling a chestnut in form and color. This 
fruit is very astringent and bitter, and on being cut, ajuice flows 
from it which is at first yellow, but soon turns black. The taste 
is peculiar, and at first not agreeable to a foreigner; but it is 
generally much liked when the palate becomes accustomed to it. 
The fruit of the Palta dissolves like butter on the tongue, and 


hence it is called in some of the French colonies beurre vegetate. 
It is sometimes eaten without any accompaniment, and sometimes 
with a little salt, or with oil and vinegar. The kernels make 
very good brandy. The Palta-tree is slender and very high, with 
a small dome-like top. On the eastern declivity of the Andes, 
I have seen some of these trees more than sixty feet high. 

The Platanos (Bananas ) thrive well in most of the Peruvian 
plantations. They require great heat and humidity. They grow 
in the greatest perfection on the banks of small rivulets. On the 
coast the tree does not yield such abundance of fruit as in the 
woody regions, where it is not unusual to see a tree with three 
hundred heads of fruit lying one over another, like tiles on a roof. 
In the country adjacent to Lima, and also on other parts of the 
coast, three favorite species are cultivated. The Platano de la 
Isla, or of Otaheite, was introduced from that archipelago in!769. 
The fruits are from three to four inches long, generally pris 
matic, as they grow thickly on the stem, and lie one over another. 
The skin is yellow, the fruit of a palish red, and rather mealy. 
The Limeiios prefer this to any other species of the platano, and 
they consider it the most wholesome. The fruits of the Platano 
Guinea are not longer, but much thicker than those of the Platano 
de la Isla, but they are so full that they burst when quite ripe. 
They are straight and cylindrical in form, as they grow on the 
stem at some distance one from the other. They are of a bright 
yellow color, but near the stem spotted with black. The edible 
part is whiter and softer than that of the Platano de la Isla, to 
which it is greatly superior in flavor and aroma. The natives 
believe this fruit to be very unwholesome, and they maintain 
that drinking brandy after eating Platanos Guineos causes imme 
diate death. This is, as my own often-repeated experiments 
have shown, one of the deep-rooted, groundless prejudices to 
which the Peruvians obstinately cling. On one of my excur 
sions I had a controversy on this subject with some persons who 
accompanied me. To prove how unfounded their notions were, 
I ate some platanos, and then washing down one poison by the 
other, I immediately swallowed a mouthful of brandy. My Peru- 
vian friends were filled with dismay. Addressing me alternately 
in terms of compassion and reproach, they assured me I should 


never return to Lima alive. After spending a very agreeable 
day, we all arrived quite well in the evening at Lima. At part 
ing, one of my companions seriously observed that we should 
never see each other again. Early next morning they anxiously 
called to inquire how I was, and finding me in excellent health 
and spirits, they said : " Ah ! you see, an herege de gringo (a 
heretic of a foreigner) is quite of a different nature from us." A 
piece of the Platano Guineo soaked in brandy retains its color 
unchanged ; but the rib-like fibres which connect the rind with 
the pulp then become black, and imbibe a bitter taste. 

The fruit of the third kind of platano, the Platano Largo, is 
from six to eight inches long, rather narrow, and curved cres 
cent-wise. The rind is of a light straw color, and when the frui< 
is very ripe it has large black spots. The edible part is of n 
whitish hue, harder and drier than that of the two species already 
described ; and its flavor its quite as agreeable. Us fruit is less 
abundant than that of the Platano Guineo, and it requires longer 
time to become fully ripe. A fourth kind, which grows in the 
forest regions, I have never seen on the coast. It is the Platano 
AUalmillaca. It bears at most from twenty to twenty-five heads 
of fruit. The stem is more than two inches thick, and above an 
ell long. The color of the husk is light yellow, the enclosed 
substance is white, tough, and hard. In the raw state it is flavor 
less, but when roasted in hot ashes, or cooked with meat, it makes 
a fine dish. 

When the platanos of the uppermost row, that is, those which 
form the base of the conical-formed reflex cluster, begin to turn 
yellow, or, as the natives say, pintar, the whole is cut off, and 
hung up in an airy, shady situation, usually in an apartment of 
the Rancho, or hut, where it may quickly ripen. The largest 
fruits are cut off as soon as they are yellow and soft, and so the 
cutting goes on gradually up to the top, for they ripen so une 
qually that those at the base show symptoms of decay while 
those at the top are still hard and green. As soon as the cabeza, 
or cluster of fruit, is cut, the whole branch is immediately lop- 
ped off, in order to facilitate the shooting of the fresh sprouts. 
Each branch bears only one cabeza, and eight or ten months are 
the period usually required for its complete development. 


The platanos belongs indisputably to the most useful class of 
fruit trees, especially in regions where they can be cultivated 
extensively, for then they mav very adequately supply the place 
of bread. In northern Peru and Guayaquil, the platano fruit is 
prepared for food in a variety of ways. 

Pine-apples (Ananas) are not much cultivated on the coast of 
Peru. The market of Lima was formerly entirely supplied with 
this fruit from the Montana de Vitoc. When brought from 
thence they used to be cut before they were ripe, and packed on 
the backs of asses. The journey is of sixteen or twenty days 
duration, and the road lies across two of the Cordilleras. After 
being several days in the cold snowy region of the Puna, the 
fruit came to Lima in a very indifferent state ; but since the 
communication by steam navigation with Guayaquil, pine-ap 
ples are brought from the latter place in large quantities. They 
are large, succulent, and very sweet. 

The Granadilla (Passiflora quadrangularis ) is about the size of 
an apple, but rather oblong. The skin is reddish-yellow, hard, 
and rather thick. The edible part is grey and gelatinous, and 
it contains numerous dark-colored seeds. The fruit is very 
agreeable, and in taste resembles the gooseberry, and is very 
cooling. The Granadilla is a shrub or bush, and it twines 
round the trunks of trees, or climbs up the walls of the Ran 
ches. It is less abundant on the coast than in the adjacent val 

The Tunas are fruits of different species of Cactus. The 
husk, which is covered with sharp prickles, is green, yellow, or 
red in color, and is easily separated from the pulp of the fruit. 
When being plucked, the tunas are rubbed with straw to remove 
the prickles, which, however, is not always completely accom 
plished. It is therefore necessary to be cautious in handling the 
husks, for the small prickles cause inflammation when they get 
into the fingers. 

The Pacay is the fruit of a tree of rather large size (Prosopis 
dulcis, Humb.), with a rather low and broad top. It consists of 
a pod from twenty to twenty-four inches long, enclosing black 
seeds, which are embedded in a white, soft, flaky substance. 
This flaky part is as white as snow, and is the only eatable part 


of the fruit. It tastes sweet, and, to my palate at least, it is very 
unpleasant ; however, the Limenos on the coast and the monkeys 
in the woods are very fond of the pacay. 

The Lucuma is produced only in the southern provinces of the 
coast of Peru, and is chiefly imported from the north of Chile. 
The fruit is round. The grey-brown husk encloses a fibrous, dry, 
yellow-colored fruit with its kernel. 

The Guayava (Psidium pomiferum) grows on a low shrub, 
chiefly in the valleys of the coast, and on the eastern declivity 
of the Andes. It is of the form and size of a small apple. The 
rind is bright, yellow, and thin. The pulp is either white or red, 
and is full of litttle egg-shaped granulations. Its flavor is plea 
sant, but not remarkably fine. In Lima it is not a favorite, for 
numerous insects lay their eggs in it, and, when the fruit is ripe, 
larvse are found in it. 

The Pepino ( a cucurbitacea) is grown in great abundance in 
the fields. The plant is only a foot and a half high, and it creeps 
on the ground. The fruit is from four to five inches long, 
cylindrical, and at both ends somewhat pointed. The husk is of 
a yellowish green color, with long rose-colored stripes. The pulp 
or edible part is solid, juicy, and well-flavored. The kernel 
lies in the middle, in a long-shaped furrow. By the natives the 
pepino is, and not altogether unreasonably, believed to be injuri 
ous. They maintain that this fruit is too cold in the stomach, 
and that a glass of brandy is necessary to counteract its injurious 
properties. This much is certain, that the pepinos are very indi 
gestible, and that eating them frequently, or at improper times, 
brings on fits of illness. 

The Mani, or Earth Almond (Aracliis hypogaa), is produced 
in the northern provinces.^ The plant is from a foot and a half 
to two feet long, and very leafy. The kernels have a grey, 
shrivelled husk : they are white, and contain much oil. When 
roasted and crushed, they are eaten with sugar. 

The Capulies (Prunus capulin, Ser.) grows in the open fields. 
In towns it is planted in gardens or in pots. The fruit is a little 
bigger than a cherry. It is of a deep yellow color, and has an 
acid taste. The capulies are not frequently eaten. On account 
of their very pleasant odor, they are used in making Pucheros de 


fares, or with other odoriferous flowers, they are besprinkled with 
agua rica, and laid in drawers to perfume linen. The ladies of 
Lima wear them in their bosoms. The same uses are made of 
the Palillos (Campomanesia Ihieatifotta, R.), which grow on trees 
from twenty to thirty feet high. The bright yellow fruit is as 
large as a moderately-sized apple. The palillo emits an exceed 
ingly agreeable scent, and is one of the ingredients used in 
making the perfumed water called mistura. When rubbed be 
tween the fingers, the leaves smell like those of the myrtle ; but 
they have an acid and a stringent taste. 

The coast of Peru is poorly supplied with Palm-trees, either 
wild or cultivated. The Cocoa Palm is grown only in a few of 
the northern provinces, and the Date Palm chiefly about Yea. 
With a very little care, these trees would thrive excellently in 
all the oases of the coast of Peru. 



Robbers on the coast of Peru The Bandit Leaders Leon and Rayo The 
Corps of Montoneros Watering Places near Lima Surco, Atte and 
Lurin Pacchacamac Ruins of the Temple of the Sun Difficulties of 
Travelling on the Coast of Peru Sea Passage to Huacho Indian Canoes 
Ichthyological Collections An old Spaniard s recollections of Alexander 
Von Humboldt The Padre Requena Huacho Plundering of Burial 
Places Huaura Malaria The Sugar Plantation at Luhmayo Quipico 
Ancient Peruvian Ruins The Salinas, or Salt Pits Gritalobos 
Chancay The Piques Mode of extracting them Valley of the Pasa- 
mayo Extraordinary Atmospheric Mirrors Piedras Gordas Palo Seco. 

ALL the inhabited parts of the coast of Peru, especially the dis 
tricts adjacent to Lima and Truxillo, are infested by robbers, and 
travelling is thereby rendered extremely unsafe. These banditti 
are chiefly runaway slaves (simarrones, as they are called), free 
negroes, zambos, or mulattos. Occasionally they are joined by 
Indians, and these latter are always conspicuous for the cruelties 
they perpetrate. Now and then a white man enters upon this 
lawless course ; and, in the year 1839, a native of North America, 
who had been a purser in a ship of war, was shot in Lima for 
highway robbery. These robbers are always well mounted, and 
their fleet-footed steeds usually enable them to elude pursuit. It 
is no unfrequent occurrence for slaves belonging to the planta 
tions to mount their masters finest horses, and after sunset, when 
their work is over, or on Sundays, when they have nothing to do, 
to sally forth on marauding expeditions. 

Most of the highway robbers who infest the coast of Peru belong 
to an extensive and systematically-organized band, headed by 
formidable leaders, who maintain spies in the towns and villages, 
from whom they receive regular reports. They sometimes prowl 
about in parties of thirty or forty, in the vicinity of the capital, 
and plunder every traveller they encounter ; but they are most 


frequently in smaller detachments. If they meet with resistance 
they give no quarter ; therefore, it is most prudent to submit to 
be plundered quietly, even when the parties attacked are stronger 
than the assailants, for the latter usually have confederates at no 
great distance, and can summon reinforcements in case of need. 
Any person who kills a robber in self-defence must ever after 
wards be in fear for his own life : even in Lima the dagger of 
the assassin will reach him, and possibly at the moment when he 
thinks himself most safe. 

Foreigners are more frequently waylaid than natives. Indeed, 
the rich and influential class of Peruvians are seldom subjected to 
these attacks, a circumstance which may serve to explain why 
more stringent police regulations are not adopted. 

The most unsafe roads are those leading to Callao, Chorillos, 
and Cavalleros. This last place is on the way to Cerro de Pasco, 
whither transports of money are frequently sent. A few weeks 
before my departure from Lima a band of thirty robbers, after a 
short skirmish with a feeble escort, made themselves masters of 
a remittance of 100,000 dollars, destined for the mine-workers of 
Pasco. The silver bars from Pasco are sent to Lima without any 
military guard, for they are suffered to pass unmolested, as the 
robbers find them heavy and cumbrous, and they cannot easily 
dispose of them. These depredations are committed close to the 
gates of Lima, and after having plundered a number of travellers, 
the robbers will very coolly ride into the city. 

The country people from the Sierra, who travel with their asses 
to Lima, and w r ho carry with them money to make purchases in the 
capital, are the constant prey of robbers, who, if they do not get 
money, maltreat or murder their victims in the most merciless 
way.* In July, 1842, 1 was proceeding from the mountains back 
to Lima, and, passing near the Puente de Surco, a bridge about 
a league and a half from Lima, my horse suddenly shied at 
something lying across the road. On alighting I found that it 
was the dead body of an Indian, who had been murdered, doubt- 

* The Indians resort to very artful methods of hiding their money. The} 
sometimes conceal it between the boards of the boxes in which their eggs 
are packed, or stitch it into the stuffing of their asses saddles. They often 
submit to be killed rather than avow where their money is concealed. 


less, by robbers. The skull was fractured in a shocking manner 
by stones. The body was still warm. 

The zambo robbers are notorious for committing tfie inosl, 
heartless cruelties. In June, 1842, one of them attacked the 
Indian who was conveying the mail to Huacho. "Shall I," said 
the robber, " kill you or put out your eyes ?" " If I must 
choose," replied the Indian, " pray kill me at once." The bar 
barian immediately drew forth his dagger and stuck it into the 
eyes of the unfortunate victim, and then left him lying on the 
sand. In this state the poor Indian was found by a traveller, 
who conveyed him to a neighboring village. The following 
anecdote was related to me by an Indian, in whose dwelling I 
passed a night, at Chancay : About half a league from the village 
he met a negro, who advanced towards him, with musket cocked, 
and commanded him to halt. My host drew out a large riding 
pistol, and said, " You may be thankful that this is not loaded or 
you would be a dead man." The negro laughing scornfully, 
rode up and seized the Indian, when the latter suddenly fired the 
pistol, and shot him dead. 

When these Peruvian banditti are attacked by the military or 
the police, they defend themselves with desperate courage. If 
they can effect their escape they fly for concealment into the 
woods and thickets, which, if not too extensive, are surrounded 
and set on fire, so that the fugitives have no alternative but to 
surrender, or to perish in the flames. 

Within the last few years, two negroes, named Escobar and 
Leon, were daring leaders of banditti. Leon, who was originally 
a slave, commenced his career of crime by the murder of his 
master. He eluded the pursuit of justice, became a highway 
robber, and for many years was the terror of the whole province 
of Lima. The police vainly endeavored to secure him. Leon 
knew the country so well, that he constantly evaded his pursu 
ers. When the price of 2000 dollars was set upon his head, he 
boldly entered Lima every evening and slept in the city. At 
length placards were posted about, calling on Leon s comrades 
to kill him, and offering to any one who might deliver him up 
dead into the hands of the police the reward of 1000 dollars 
and a pardon. This measure had the desired result, and Leon 


was strangled, whilst asleep, by a zambo, who was his godfather. 
The body was, during three days, exposed to public view in front 
of the cathedral. 

Another celebrated bandit was the zambo, Jose Rayo. He 
took an active part in several of the political revolutions ; and 
having, during those commotions, been serviceable to the presi 
dent, he was raised to the rank of a lieutenant-colonel, and made 
chief of the country police, called the Partida montada del campo. 
This post he still fills, and he is admirably well adapted to it, as 
experience has rendered him thoroughly acquainted with banditti 
life, and he knows every hiding-place in the country round Lima. 
Nevertheless he could not catch the negro Leon, or possibly he 
would not seize him, for Leon was his godfather, a relationship 
which is held sacred throughout all classes in Peru. When Rayo 
speaks of the president and ministers he always styles them sus 
mejores amigos (his best friends). I fell in with him once, when 
travelling on the road to Chaclacayo, and rode in company with 
him as far as the Hacienda de Santa Clara. I found him exceed 
ingly complaisant and courteous in his manners ; but his true 
zambo nature was not wholly concealed beneath the smooth 

Robbers, when captured and brought to Lima, undergo a very 
summary trial, and are then sentenced to be shot. The culprits 
have the privilege of choosing their place of execution, and they 
generally fix on the market-place. They are allowed the assist 
ance of a priest for twelve hours prior to their death, and they 
are conducted from the chapel to the place of execution, carrying 
a bench, on which they sit to undergo the punishment. Four 
soldiers fire at the distance of three paces from the culprit ; two 
aiming at his head, and two at his breast. On one of these occa 
sions a singular instance of presence of mind and dexterity 
occurred a few years ago in Lima. A very daring zambo, 
convicted of highway robbery, was sentenced to death. He 
made choice of the Plaza de la Inquisicion as the scene of his 
execution. It was market time, and the square was crowded 
with people. The culprit darted around him a rapid and pene 
trating glance, and then composedly seated himself on the bench. 
The soldiers according to custom levelled their muskets and 


fired ; but how great was the surprise, when the cloud of smoke 
dispersed, and it was discovered that the zambo had vanished. 
He had closely watched the movements of the soldiers, and when 
they pulled the triggers of their muskets, he stooped down, and 
the balls passed over his head. Then suddenly knocking down one 
of the guards who stood beside him, he rushed into the midst of the 
crowd, where some of his friends helped him to effect his escape. 

In time of war a corps is raised, consisting chiefly of highway 
robbers and persons who, by various offences against the laws, 
have forfeited their freedom or their lives. This corps is called 
the Montoneros, and they are very important auxiliaries when 
the coast is the theatre of the war. The Montoneros, not being 
trained in military manoeuvres, are not employed as regular 
cavalry, but only as outposts, scouts, despatch-bearers, &c. 
They are good skirmishers, and they harass the enemy by their 
unexpected movements ; sometimes attacking in front and some 
times in the rear. They have no regular uniform, and their 
usual clothing consists of dirty white trousers and jacket, a pon 
cho, and a broad-brimmed straw hat. Many of them are not even 
provided with shoes, and their spurs are fastened on their bare 
heels. Their arms consist of a short carbine and a sword. 
When the corps is strong, and is required for active service, it is 
placed under the command of a General of the Army. In 1838, 
General Miller, now British Consul at the Sandwich Islands, 
commanded a corps of 1000 Montoneros, who were in the service 
of Santa Cruz. They are held in the strictest discipline by their 
commanders, who punish theft with death. There is, however, 
one sort of robbery which they are suffered to commit with im 
punity, viz, horse-stealing. The horses obtained in this way 
are used for mounting the cavalry ; and detachments of Monto 
neros are sent to the plantations to collect horses. They arc 
likewise taken from travellers, and from the stables in the capi 
tal ; but sometimes, after the close of the campaign, the animals 
are returned to their owners. When the war is ended the 
Montoneros are disbanded, and most of them return to their 
occupation as highway robbers. 

In all campaigns the Montoneros are sent forward, by one or 
two days march in advance of the main army, either in small 


or large detachments. When they enter a village they experi 
ence no difficulty in obtaining quarters and provisions, for the 
inhabitants are not disposed to refuse anything that such visitors 
may demand. A troop of Montoneros is a picturesque, but, at 
the same time, a very fearful sight. Their black, yellow, and 
olive-colored faces, seared by scars, and expressive of every evil 
passion and savage feeling ; their motley and tattered garments j 
their weary and ill-saddled horses ; their short firelocks and long 
swords ; present altogether a most wild and disorderly aspect. 
The traveller, who suddenly encounters such a band, may con 
sider himself exceedingly lucky if he escapes with only the loss 
of his horse. 

A universal panic pervades the city of Lima whenever a de 
tachment of Montoneros enters within the gates. On every side 
are heard cries of " Cierra puertas ! " (close the doors !) " Los 
Montoneros /" Every person passing along the streets runs into 
the first house he comes to, and closes the door after him. In a 
few moments the streets are cleared, and no sound is heard but 
the galloping of the Montoneros horses. 

Within the distance of a few leagues from Lima there are 
several pretty villages, to which the wealthier class of the inha 
bitants of the capital resort in the summer seasons, for sea-bath 
ing. The nearest, situated about three-quarters of a league 
from Lima, is Magdalena, where the Viceroy of Peru formerly 
h\d a beautiful summer residence. Miraflores, about midway 
between Lima and Chorillos, is a small village containing a plaza 
and some neatly-built houses. Though the heat is greater here 
than in the capital, yet the air is purer, and Miraflores may be 
regarded as the healthiest spot in the neighborhood of Lima. 
The sultry atmosphere is refreshed by the sea breezes. Sur 
rounded by verdant though not luxuriant vegetation, and suffi 
ciently distant from the marshes, Miraflores appears to combine 
within itself all that can be wished for in a summer residence. 
For asthmatic patients the air is particularly favorable. An old 
Spaniard of my acquaintance, who was engaged during the day 
in business in Lima, used to go every night to sleep at Mira 
flores : he assured me that if he slept a night in the capital he 
suffered a severe attack of asthma. 


Chorillos is a poor, ill-looking village. The streets are dirty 
and crooked, and the houses are mere ranchos. It is built close 
to the sea, on a steep sandy beach ; but, though anything but 
a pleasant place, Chorillos is the favorite resort of the wealthy 
Limayan families. Not a tree is visible in the neighborhood 
of the village, and the unshaded rays of the sun are reflected 
with twofold power from the hot sand. A broad, steep road 
leads down to the bathing-place on the sea-beach, which is rough 
and shingly. A row of small huts, covered with matting, serve 
as dressing-rooms. Both ladies and gentlemen use bathing 
dresses, which are very neatly made of a kind of blue cloth. 
The ladies are accompanied by guides (bahaderos). These are 
Indians, who dwell in the village. In winter they employ them- 
selves in fishing, and in summer they live by what they get 
from the visitors who resort to Chorillos. They are a good- 
looking, hardy race of people. 

The time for bathing is early in the morning. The interval 
between breakfast and dinner is devoted to swinging in the 
hammock, either in the sala or in the corridor. The afternoon 
and evening are spent on the promenade, and the later hours of 
the night at the gaming-table. The routine of the day s occu 
pations and amusements is much the same as in most of the 
watering-places of Europe, excepting that, in the latter, the 
hammock is suspended by the chair in the reading-room and 
coffee-house, or the bench on the promenade. The sultry nights 
in Chorillos are rendered doubly unpleasant by the swarms of 
vermin which infest the houses. Fleas, bugs, mosquitoes and 
sancudos, combine to banish rest from the couch of even the 
soundest sleeper. 

Surco is situated about half a league from Chorillos, and 
further into the interior of the country. It is a poor but plea 
sant village, surrounded by tropical trees and luxuriant vegeta 
tion. The climate is not so hot as that of Lima or Chorillos. 
Surco is a very pretty spot, though seldom resorted to by the in 
habitants of the capital ; because it boasts neither baths nor 

Two leagues eastward of Lima, in the direction of the moun. 
tains, is the village El Ate. It lies in a fertile valley, and en- 


joys a pure and equal temperature. It is much resorted to by 
invalids suffering from pulmonary disorders, which, if not cured, 
are at least relieved by the pure air. 

Lurin is situated five leagues south from the capital, and a 
quarter of a league from the Rio de Lurin, which intersects the 
Quebrada of Huarochirin. Fine gardens, and well-cultivated 
lands, impart beauty to the surrounding scenery. At Michael 
mas Lurin is visited by many of the inhabitants of the capital, 
St. Michael being the patron saint of the place. The village 
stands about a thousand paces from the margin of the sea 
shore, which is two miles distant from the rocky islands of 
Tarallones, Santo Domingo, and Pacchacamac. Prior to the 
Spanish conquest, the valley of Lurin was one of the most popu 
lous parts of the coast of Peru. The whole t>f the broad valley 
was then called Pacchacamac, because near the sea-shore and 
northward of the river, there was a temple sacred to the " Crea 
tor of the Earth."* Pacchacamac was the greatest deity of the 
Yuncas, who did not worship the sun until after their subju 
gation by the Incas. The temple of Pacchacamac was then dedi 
cated to the sun by the Incas, who destroyed the idols which 
the Yuncas had worshipped, and appointed to the service of 
the temple a certain number of virgins of royal descent. In 
the year 1534, Pizarro invaded the village of Lurin : his troops 
destroyed the temple, and the Virgins of the Sun were dishonored 
and murdered. 

The ruins of the temple of Pacchacamac are among the most 
interesting objects on the coast of Peru. They are situated on a 
hill about 558 feet high. The summit of the hill is overlaid with 
a solid mass of brick-work about thirty feet in height. On this 
artificial ridge stood the temple, enclosed by high walls, rising in 
the form of an amphitheatre. It is now a mass of ruins ; all 
that remains of it being some niches, the walls of which present 
faint traces of red and yellow painting. At the foot, and on the 
sides of the hill, are scattered ruins which were formerly the 

* The word Pacchacamac signifies He who created the world out of no 
thing. It is compounded of Paccha, the earth, and camac, the participle 
present of caman, to produce something from nothing. 


walls of habitations. The whole was encircled by a wall eight 
feet in breadth, and it was probably of considerable height, for 
some of the parts now standing are twelve feet high, though the 
average height does not exceed three or four feet. The mania 
of digging for treasures every year makes encroachments on these 
vestiges of a bygone age, whose monuments are well deserving 
of more careful preservation. 

Travelling on the coast of Peru is difficult and tedious. The 
roads lead through plains of sand, where often not a trace of 
vegetation is to be seen, nor a drop of water to be found for twenty 
or thirty miles. It is found desirable to take all possible advan 
tage of the night, in order to escape the scorching rays of a tropi 
cal sun ; but when there is no moonlight, and above all, when 
clouds of mist obscure the directing stars, the traveller runs the 
risk of getting out of his course, and at daybreak, discovering his 
error, he may have to retrace his weary way. This extra fa 
tigue may possibly disable his horse, so that the animal cannot 
proceed further. In such an emergency a traveller finds his life 
in jeopardy ; for should he attempt to go forward on foot he may, 
in all probability, fall a sacrifice to fatigue and thirst. Numbers 
of beasts of burden sink every year under the difficulties of such 
a journey ; and their bones serve to mark the direction of the 
road. Long journeys over these sand plains should be under 
taken only with good and well-tried horses. For the most part 
the horses cannot stand hunger and thirst forty-eight hours with 
out becoming so exhausted that the rider has the greatest diffi 
culty in making them drag on ; and if he is inconsiderate enough 
to force the animal to take a quicker pace, the horse lies down 
and dies. The mule, which more easily supports the difficul 
ties of a severe journey on the sparest food, is, in Peru, the camel 
of the desert. Without mules, a long journey on most parts of 
the coast would be impracticable. The horse obeys the spur 
until he falls dead under the rider. Not so the mule : when too 
weary to journey onward he stands stock still, and neither whip 
nor spur will move him until he has rested. After that he will 
willingly proceed on his way. By this means the traveller has 
a criterion by which he can judge of the powers of his animal. 

Excursions along the coast have been greatly facilitated by the 


introduction of steam navigation, and travellers now eagerly avail 
themselves of that rapid and secure mode of conveyance. Even 
in sailing vessels voyages from south to north can be conveniently 
performed in consequence of the regularity of the tradewind. 

During my residence in Lima, in the commencement of the 
year 1841, I visited the port of Huacho, situated to the north. 
A packet bound to Panama had permission to touch at Huacho, 
without casting anchor, as she had to convey political prisoners 
under sentence of transportation to Panama. I was one of five 
passengers who landed at Huacho, and among the number was 
the pastor of the town, that very original individual, " the Cura 
Requena." The passage, which is usually made in fourteen 
hours, lasted two days and a half. Off the port we fell in with a 
Peruvian sloop of war, which, on our sailing from Callao, had 
been sent to watch us, and to stop the prisoners in case they at 
tempted to escape. Our captain lay to, and we stepped into a 
boat. Our movements were observed from the shore, where, for 
some days, a report had prevailed that Santa Cruz was coming 
with Corsairs, to make a descent. The inhabitants believed that 
our ship must belong to that expedition. They were the more 
confirmed in their notion, inasmuch as the appearance of a sloop 
of war, which had sailed about for some hours in the bay, could 
not otherwise bo explained. Accordingly the alarm bell was 
rung. The custom-house officers and the coast guards, headed 
by the port captain, and followed by a crowd of people, came 
down to the shore, some armed with muskets and pistols, others 
with swords and cudgels, to repel the intended attack. 

At the entrance to the port of Huacho the breakers are so 
dangerous that an ordinary-sized boat cannot put in. Landing 
is therefore effected in the small canoes of the Indians. When 
we approached the shore we made signals, and called loudly for 
canoes, but in vain. The dismayed Huachanos showed no in 
clination to assist their supposed enemies. Our captain, who 
was with us in the boat, said, that as a fresh wind from the shore 
was springing up he could wait no longer, and that he must take 
us with him to Panama. This very unpleasant piece of informa 
tion prompted us to put into execution a plan which was suggested 
by despair. The tall, lank pastor, wrapped in the black ecclesi- 


astical robe, called the talar, was placed at the prow, where he 
stood up, making signs of peace and friendship to the natives. 
This had the desired effect. The port captain had a good glass, 
with which he quickly recognized the marked features of the 
Cura, and several Indian boats were instantly despatched to con 
vey us on shore. These Indian canoes consist of long narrow 
stumps of trees, hollowed longitudinally. On either side is 
nailed a palo de bahas, viz., a beam of a very porous kind of 
wood. One Indian sits forward, another more backward, each 
having a short wooden shovel-shaped oar, with which they strike 
the water right and left, and thus scull the boat onward. The 
passengers must crouch or kneel down in the middle, and dare 
not stir, for the least irregularity in the motion would upset the 
boat. We landed safely, and amused ourselves by referring to 
the mistake of the brave guardians of the coast. Horses were 
provided for us, and we rode to the town, which is situated at 
about half a league up the gently-rising coast. 

My principal occupation, during a six weeks residence on this 
part of the coast, which is very rich in fishes, was to augment 
my ichthyological collection, and to make myself well acquainted 
with the environs of Huacho. Every morning, at five o clock, 
I rode down to the shore, and waited on the strand to see the 
boats returning with what had been caught, during the night, by 
the fishers, who readily descried me at a distance, and held up, 
in their boat, such strange inhabitants of the deep as had come 
into their possession. I succeeded in making out, from several 
hundred individual specimens, one hundred and twenty distinct 
species of sea and river fish. But an unlucky fate hovered over 
this fine collection. The fishes were all put into a cask with 
brandy, which, by neglect of the commissary of the port, was 
left on the Mole at Callao, for several months, in the burning 
heat of the sun : in consequence its contents were utterly de 
stroyed. A second collection was prepared, and immediately 
shipped for Europe, and in the packing the greatest care was 
observed. Nevertheless it arrived, after a voyage of fifteen 
months, in a state quite useless. Thus the fruits of much labor 
and a considerable expense were entirely lost. 

Huacho is a little village, which, since the war of Indepen. 


dence, has received the title of " city." It has more than 5000 
inhabitants, of whom four-fifths are Indians and the rest mesti- 
zes. Very few whites have settled here. Among them I met 
an old lame Spaniard, " Don Simon/" who, at the beginning of 
the present century, accompanied the celebrated Alexander von 
Humboldt to the beds of salt situated a few miles to the south. 
In relating, with enthusiastic pleasure, his recollections of the 
youthful and indefatigable traveller, he told me that, some years 
ago, he had react through the book which Humboldt wrote on 
America, and he added, with great simplicity, " pero, Seiior, ahi 
lie perdido los estribos."* 

The natives employ themselves in fishing, agriculture, and the 
breeding of poultry. Most of the poultry brought to market in 
Lima comes from Huacho. Every Friday large caravan-like 
processions of Indian women repair to the capital with fowls, 
ducks, and turkeys. Fifteen or twenty arc tied together by the 
feet, and make a sort of bunch ; and two of such bunches are 
hung at the pommel of the saddle, so that one hangs down on 
either side of the horse. The cholaf sits in the middle. Under 
this burthen the poor animal has to travel two days and a half. 
Only when the caravan halts does he enjoy the relief of being 
unsaddled and fed. Some of the Indians of Huacho work in the 
salt-pits. The women plait coarse straw hats, and a kind of 
mats called petates, which they carry to Lima for sale. 

The Huachanos cannot be ranked among the best classes of 
the Indians. They are malicious, revengeful, and knavish. 
Their character has evidently deteriorated amidst the numerous 
revolutions which preceded the establishment of the Republic, 
and the frequent passage of troops through the town. The Padre 
Requena sketched to me a terrible picture of his Indicts Irutos ; 
but truly, under the guidance of such a shepherd, it were un 
reasonable to expect the flock to be very good. This venerable 
Cura was a fair type of the Peruvian priesthood. He was pas- 

* Literally " But there, sir, I lost the stirrups." Meaning that he did 
not understand it. The Spanish phrase, Perder los estribos, signifies to get 
confused or embarrassed. 

f Chola is the common designation for an Indian female. The mascu 
line is Cholo. 


sionately fond of hunting, and for the enjoyment of that recrea 
tion he kept a number of excellent horses, and several packs of 
hounds, particularly ga/gos (greyhounds), for some of which he 
paid 150 or 200 dollars. In the most shameless way he violated 
the ecclesiastical vow of celibacy, and he was usually surrounded 
by several of his own children, who called him uncle, addressing 
him by the appellation of tio, the term usually employed in Peru 
to express that sort of relationship. The Padre used to boast 
of his alleged friendship with Lord Cochrane, in which he af 
fected to pride himself very greatly. He died in a few weeks 
after his return to Huacho. He refused so long to make his con 
fession, that the Indians, uttering furious menaces, assembled in 
crowds about his house. Some even compelled a priest to go in 
to him, to represent the awful consequences of his obstinacy. 
On the approach of death, he declared that the thought which 
most occupied him was his separation from his hounds, and when 
his hands were becoming cold he called to his negro to fetch a 
pair of buckskin hunting gloves, and desired to have them drawn 

In Peru the clergy have no fixed stipend. Their emoluments 
are derived from the fees and perquisites which their ecclesiasti 
cal functions bring in. For baptisms, marriages, and masses, 
fixed sums are established ; but it is not so with burials, for which 
the priest receives a present proportional to the circumstances of 
the deceased. The interment of a poor person (entierro baxo) 
costs at least from eight to ten dollars, which sum is extorted 
from the survivors with the most unrelenting rigor. For the 
burial of a rich person (entierro alto} the sum of two hundred 
dollars is frequently paid. If a wealthy man should express in 
his will his desire for an entierro baxo, the priest sets this clause 
aside, and proceeds with the costly ceremonies, the payment for 
which is insured by the pious feelings of the family. Hence 
some of the richer comuncrias, of which Huacho is one, yield to 
the priest annually from 12,000 to 14,000 dollars. When a 
priest dies, the clergy of the neighboring villages meet and bury 
him with great pomp, free of any payment except a good ban 

A rich Indian of Huacho made a bargain with his countrymen 


that, on their paying him weekly a medio (the sixteenth part of 
a dollar), he would defray the expenses of their funerals. By 
this agreement he realized a considerable sum of money. The 
Cholos made it a condition that they should be buried in coffins, 
which is not common with the lower classes in Peru. The In 
dian complied with this condition. When a Cholo died, a coffin 
was sent to his residence. If too short, the corpse was bent and 
forced into it. The interment then took place according to the 
ritual of the Church. On the following night the Indian who 
had contracted for the burials repaired with a confidential ser 
vant to the churchyard, dug up the coffin, threw the body back 
into the grave, and carried off the coffin, with the mortaja (the 
funeral garment), which served for the next customer. The con 
tractor made each coffin last as long as the boards would hold 
together. This system, at all events, secured the Cholos against 
the danger of being buried alive. 

The churchyard of Huacho presents a revolting spectacle. A 
low wall surrounds a space of sandy ground, which is strewed 
with skulls, bones, fragments of burial clothes, and mutilated 
human bodies. The coffin plunderer, on replacing the corpse in 
the grave, merely throws some loose sand over it, and the conse 
quence is that the remains of the dead frequently become the 
prey of dogs, foxes, and other carrion feeders. When the family 
of a deceased person can contribute nothing to defray the funeral 
expenses, the body is conveyed privately during the night to the 
churchyard. In the morning it is found half consumed. 

The environs of Huacho abound in fine fruit gardens, and pro 
ductive Indian farms. The climate is healthful, though very 
hot. The vicinity of the sea and the convenience of good bath 
ing would render it an agreeable place of residence, were it not 
infested with vermin. Fleas propagate in the sand in almost 
incredible multitudes, especially in the neighborhood of the Indi 
an huts, and any person entering them is in a moment covered 
with hundreds of those tormentors. Bugs, too, swarm in the 
lime walls ; though that description of vermin is less numerous 
in Huacho than in some of the more northern towns. 

In a fine valley, about two short leagues from Huacho, the 
ittle town of Huaura is situated on the bank of a river of the same 


name. This Rio de Huaura is formed by the union of two rivers. 
The larger of the two rises in the Cordillera de Paria, and flows 
through the wild ravine of Chuichin : the smaller river, called 
the Rio Chico de Sayan, rises from a lake of considerable size in 
the Altos de Huaquimarci. Both unite below the village of 
Sayan. In the vicinity of Huaura the river forms several marsh 
es, in which malaria is generated. In very few places have I 
seen the stratum of malaria so distinctly separated from the at 
mosphere as here. It lies at an average about two, or two and 
a half feet above the marsh, and is carried over it by strong 
atmospheric currents. It is distinguished by a peculiar kind of 
opalization, and on certain changes of light it exhibits a yellowish 
tint. This is particularly perceptible in the morning, on coming 
down from the high grounds. The marshy plain then appears 
overhung with a thick color-changing sheet of malaria. Malig. 
nant intermittent fever and diseases of the skin are frequent in 
Huaura. The town is thinly peopled ; the number of inhabit 
ants being not more than 2000. 

A great sugar plantation, called El Ingenio, is situated at about 
a quarter of a league from Huaura. It formerly belonged to the 
Jesuits, but is now the property of a rich Lima family. The 
trapiche, or sugar-mill, is worked by a water-wheel, the first ever 
established in Peru, a circumstance of which the owner proudly 

The valley which opens here is magnificent, and to ride 
through it easterly eleven leagues towards Sayan is one of the 
finest excursions which can be made in Peru. Over this beauti 
ful district are scattered many rich plantations. The one next in 
importance to El Ingenio is Acaray, which, though not very 
large, is most carefully cultivated : another, called Huillcahuau- 
ra, has a splendid building erected on it. In the middle of the 
valley is the extensive sugar plantation of Luhmayo. Near this 
place I saw, in a negro s hut, an ounce of immense size, which 
had been killed a few weeks previously. More than fifty Negroes 
and Indians had been engaged in subduing this ferocious animal, 
which was not killed until after a conflict of two days, in the 
course of which several negroes were dangerously wounded. 
This gigantic specimen measured, from the snout to the tip of the 


tail, eight feet three inches ; the tail itself measuring two feel 
eight inches. 

At the sugar works of Luhmayo, notwithstanding the number 
of pipes, and other methods of .supplying water, the cylinders are 
always worked by oxen, and are kept in motion day and night. 
I took a view of the works during the night, and the extraordinary 
picture I beheld will never be effaced from my memory. In the 
middle of the spacious building appropriated to the operations 
blazed a large fire, fed by the refuse of sugar canes. Around 
lay negroes, some asleep, and others muttering to each other in 
an under- tone. Here and there sat one perfectly silent, wrapped 
in his own reflections, and apparently brooding over some gloomy 
plan. The oxen paced slowly round the pole, which directed 
the movement of the cylinders ; the animals alternately disap 
pearing in the obscure background, and returning to the point 
where the glare of the fire, falling full upon them, lighted them up 
as if by the sudden effect of magic. Behind them stalked a tall 
black figure, driving them on wim a rod made of brambles. 
Groups of children were busily employed in thrusting the full 
sugar canes between the cylinders ; and after they were pressed, 
collecting together the sapless reeds, and piling them up in regu 
lar heaps. 

Next morning the person who officiated as medical superintend- 
ant of the plantation, showed me all the arrangements of the 
establishment. He gave me an account of his cures and opera 
tions, and told me that he often found it necessary to amputate, 
because the slaves purposely injure their fingers and arms in 
the Phdlangdes (machines) in order to disable themselves. The 
worthy ^Esculapius had never in his life read a regular medical 
work. He had originally been an overseer of slaves, and had 
afterwards turned doctor. He informed me that some time be 
fore I saw him, ninety negroes, his patients, had died of small 
pox in the space of nine months, whereby the owner of the plant 
ation had lost 45,000 dollars. The hospital was clean and well 
fitted up, but over-crowded with sick. Most of them died from 
intermitting fever, and from dropsy and rheumatism which 
followed it. Not a few of the male negroes suffer from a peculiar 
kind of cutaneous disease, which shows itself by large pustules 


on the arms and breast. After suppuration they dry and fall off, 
but leave indelible spots, which, on a black skin, are of a whitish 
color ; on a brown skin, olive-green, and on a white skin, black. 
I never saw the disease in any other part of the country except 
in this valley. Negroes and persons of mixed blood are more 
subject to it than the whites. 

The two plantations on the east side of the valley are Cham- 
bara and Quipico. The latter is celebrated for the fine sugar 
it produces, and is also well known on account of the original 
character of its late proprietor, Castilla. When I rode into the 
court, I was in a moment surrounded by about fifty fine grey 
hounds, and from every side others came springing forward. 
This was but a remnant of Castilla s collection. He was pas 
sionately devoted to hunting, and generally kept from 200 to 
300 greyhounds, with which he rode out daily. A bell was rung 
at certain hours to collect the light-footed tribe to their meals. 
A gallows was erected in the court, where the intractable under 
went capital punishment as a warning to the rest. One day 
when Castilla went out to hunt, ho was joined in the chase by 
an Indian, who brought with him a common mongrel. This ani 
mal outstripped some of the greyhounds in speed, and quickly 
overtook the deer. Castilla immediately bought the dog, for 
which he gave the immense price of 350 dollars. A few days 
after he rode out to hunt with his best greyhounds, together with 
the newly-purchased dog. The pack being let loose, all the 
dogs set off in full chase, but the mongrel remained quietly be 
side the horses. On returning to the plantation, he was hung up 
on the gallows as a warning example. 

To the north of Huacho. the Pompa del medio mundo, a sand 
plain, seven leagues long, stretches out to the village of Supe. 
At short successive distances farther to the north are the villages 
of Baranca, Patwika (or rather Pati Huillca), and la Fortalcza. 
Then there intervenes a vast waste, which extends nearly to 
Huarmay. Between that village and the Port of Casma there 
is a similar long plain of sand. Thus do wastes, and fruitful 
valleys, alternate along the whole coast until near Tumbez, on 
the frontiers of the Republic of the Ecuador. 

The whole district is rich in memorable monuments of the 



time of the Incas. The most important are the remains of the 
pa.ace of King Chimu Cancha, not far from the harbor of Huan- 
chaco, and the ruins of Paramanca, near la Fortaleza. Doctor 
Unanue* is of opinion that the latter edifice was built to com- 
memorate the peace between King Chimu Cancha and his ccn- 
queror, Capac Yupanqui ; and that of two other buildings, one 
(the larger), situated towards the east, marks the dominions of 
the powerful Inca Pachacutec, and the other (the smaller), to 
wards the west, indicates the territory of the conquered Chimu. 
This supposition is, in my opinion, quite erroneous. Indepen 
dently of the plainly-recognizable character of those ruins, the 
construction of which shows them to have been fortifications, 
their situation bears evidence against the inference of Unanue. 
Supposing the larger building to have indicated the position of the 
Inca Empire, it ought to have been situated to the south, and the 
smaller building would have been to the north. The only passa 
ble road along the coast led between these two fortified hills ; 
and by them the road on that side to the Kingdom of Chimu 
could be cut off. The Incas well knew, from experience, that 
the subdued populations, usually after a longer or a shorter time, 
again revolted, and endeavored to shake off their yoke, and 
therefore they were on their guard against such an occurrence. 
Capac Yupanqui must have greatly mistrusted an enemy so for 
midable as Chimu Cancha, who had only yielded after the most 
obstinate resistance, and it is no slight proof of this that Para- 
mancaf was built as a fortress to hold the subjugated nations in 
check. It was not, however, built as a monument of victory, 
for such monuments were always erected in Cozco, the capital, 
and never on the field of battle. Etymology affords no solution 
of this question. Some write Paramonga, others Paramanca. 
I regard the latter as the most correct. Garcilaso de la Vega 

* Nuevo dia del Peru. 1824. 

\ According to some ancient authors Paramonca was built by King 
Chimu as a frontier fortress against the neighboring nations. There is 
some foundation for this view of the subject, as Chimu Cancha had, long 
before he was attacked by Capac Yupanqui, carried on war most fiercely 
with Cuyz Mancu, King of Pacchacama, and Chuquiz Mancu, King of Ru- 
uahuanac (the present Lunalmaaa). 


calls the valley Parmunca. In the Quichua dialect Paramanca* 
signifies a pot for rain. It is therefore possible that the name 
may indicate an allusion to heavy torrents of rain, which, though 
now unusual on this particular part of the coast, may have oc 
curred in this basin-like valley after a great earthquake. 

Five leagues to the south of Huacho are the extensive Salinas, 
or salt pits, which supply Peru and Chile with excellent salt. 
They spread from the sea coast to the distance of half a league 
eastward, and present a most extraordinary aspect. On ap 
proaching them the traveller might fancy he beholds a field of 
glaciers, on which the sun s rays produce wonderful effects of 
variegated color. 

This salt is the produce of a natural evaporation of the sea 
water, which trickles through the porous stones of the coast, and 
fills every intervening hollow. The whole space is parcelled 
into divisions, called fields, from which, according to a definite 
regulation, square masses, weighing each one hundred pounds, 
are cut. In a few days the holes are again filled up with sea 
water, which, in the space of twelve to sixteen, or sometimes 
twenty to twenty-four months, being evaporated by the sun, 
leaves a precipitate completely filling up the square holes. The 
government has farmed the salinas to a private individual in 
Huacho, who keeps on the spot an overseer with the necessary 
number of laborers. This establishment is an inexhaustible 
source of wealth, and it can only be destroyed by a violent earth 
quake. In the bay on which the salinas border there is very 
convenient and secure anchoring ground, where coasters are con 
stantly lying, ready to receive the salt, and convey it to any Pe 
ruvian or Chilean port. Most of the laborers employed in the 
salinas suffer from diseases of the skin and rheumatism. Water 
and provisions have to be brought from Huacho. The Indians, 
when they come from the mountains to convey salt, never take 
their llamas to the salinas. They go straight to Huacho, where 
the animals are loaded at the great dep6ts. Each llama carries 
the weight of one hundred pounds, which, however, is not, like 
ordinary burthens, laid on the bare back of the animal beneath 
it is placed a layer of thick woollen cloth, called a jerga. 

* Para (rain) Manca (pot). 


The road southward from the Salinas runs, for the distance of 
nine leagues, through deep sand, chiefly along the sea-coast, and 
is bounded on the east by the Lomas de Lachay. Here flocks of 
strand snipes and flamingoes fly constantly before the traveller, 
as if to direct his course. In the pescadores (fishermen s huts), 
five leagues from the Salinas, brackish water and broiled fish 
may be obtained, and sometimes even clover, which is brought 
hither, from the distance of several miles, to feed the hungry 
horses. From the pescadores the road crosses steep sand-hills, 
which rise from three to four hundred feet high, and fall with a 
declivity of more than sixty degrees towards the sea. The road 
leads along the side of these hills, and, where the ground is not 
firm, it is exceedingly dangerous. On a false step of the horse 
the ground yields beneath his hoof, and rolls down the declivity ; 
but by due care the rider can easily recover a solid footing. 
There is on one of these hills a very large stone, which at a cer 
tain distance presents in color and form a deceptious similarity 
to an enormous-sized seal. Almost perpendicularly under it is 
a small bay, inhabited by a multitude of seals. The dull crash 
ing sound made by the breakers on the shore, mingling with the 
howling of these animals, makes a gloomy impression on the tra 
veller who is passing along the height above them, and creates a 
sort of shuddering sensation. The natives call this place and its 
sounds the Grita Lolos (the Sea-dog s Howl). From this hilly 
ground the road descends into the fruitful valley of the Pasamayo, 
which contains two villages and eighteen plantations. 

Chancay, the principal town in this valley, is the residence of a 
sub-prefect. It is a league and a half from the river, and a short 
league from the sea, where there is an inconsiderable and not very 
safe port, which can only be entered by small vessels. The num 
ber of inhabitants is about 1200, chiefly Indians and Mulattos, 
Excellent fruits and vegetables, good beef, mutton, and poultry, 
and well-flavored fish, are found here in abundance. The houses 
are all of the poorest structure, and are sparingly and rudely fur 
nished. In the neighboring farms, some of which arc large, as 
Torreblanco, Pasamayo, &c., maize is extensively cultivated for 
exportation and for food to the swine, which are very numerous. 
In no other valley of Peru are there so many earth-fleas, or piques, 


as they are called, particularly about the plantations. The pique 
is a small, white insect, which lives in sand, but fastens as a para 
site on man and beast, more particularly on swine. It attacks 
man by penetrating the skin, for the most part under the toe- 
nails, where an egg is laid, from which a painful tumor is after 
wards formed. Should this be neglected, the brood is developed, 
and penetrates further into the flesh. Then follow violent in 
flammations and imposthumes, which sometimes assume so serious 
a character that the amputation of the foot becomes necessary. 
While the pique is penetrating there is no sensation of its pre 
sence ; it is first felt on the development of the egg, and then it 
is still easy to remove the bag which contains it, and the mother 
with it. The Negresses accomplish this with great dexterity. 
They make an aperture in the skin by scratching it with a 
needle, and then they draw the bag out. Should it burst, they 
take out the egg with the needle ; but this is a very delicate 
operation. I have always been able to do it more speedily and 
more securely with the lancet. The hole is commonly of the 
size of a bean, and hot cigar ashes are put into it to destroy 
any eggs or larvae which may remain. These insects do not 
always confine themselves to the feet; they sometimes attack 
the body and the face, and it is in general extremely difficult for 
the patient to discover how or where he became acquainted with 
such troublesome companions. I once had six tumors, caused 
by broods of piques, on my right foot, and I could not trace the 
annoyance to any other cause than having stopped for a few 
minutes, while my horse was being saddled, in the corral, or 
yard, of a plantation. 

The road from Chancay to the Haciendas of Bisquira, Anda- 
huasi, and the village of Sayan, extends in a northeasterly direc 
tion, through a dreary valley of sand, between rows of sterile 
hillocks of the most singular forms. I had once to travel along 
twelve leagues of this wearisome road, under the most oppressive 
heat of the sun. The mules were quite overcome, and when 
we reached the Cuesta de los ahorcados (the hill of the hanged) 
they would not move another step. We had to descend and 
give them a long rest. We stretched ourselves under the bellies 
of the animals, the only shade we could get in this treeless waste. 


At last, after a very difficult journey, during which we lost our 
selves in a marsh in the neighborhood of Bisquira, we arrived 
about midnight at Andahuasi. On this road, only two leagues 
from Chancay, near the Hacienda of Chancayllo, are situated 
the Colcas, most remarkable subterraneous structures, of the 
time of the Incas. According to tradition, they were built by 
the Yuncas, during the campaign of Capac Yupanqui against 
Chimu Cancha, as provision magazines for the numerous army, 
more than 120,000 strong. 

At the mouth of the Pasamayo, on the north bank, there are 
some salinas, which, however, are far more inconsiderable than 
those of Huacho. 

The first time I went from Huacho to Lima, I wished to pass 
over the whole road, twenty-eight leagues, in one uninterrupted 
ride ; accordingly I left Huacho at two o clock, P. M., in order 
that I might cross the great sand-flats during the night. A negro 
who knew the road accompanied me. We passed through Chan- 
cay at midnight. Some muleteers, lying before a hut, called to 
us, and warned us to stop, as the river had swelled very much. 
Nevertheless we proceeded onward, and by one o clock we 
reached the Pasamayo, which, in consequence of the heavy rains 
from the mountains, had overflowed its banks. Several travellers 
had stretched themselves on the ground to wait for the morning 
light, and in the hope that the flood would by that time subside. 
No Chimbadores* were to be had. My negro guide looked at 
the water with dismay, and declared that he had never before 
witnessed so furious a swell. However, we had no time to lose, 
and I resolved to attempt the passage of the river. Trusting to 
my well tried horse, which had already carried me safely through 
many difficult coasting journeys, I cautiously rode into the river, 
which became deeper at every step. The overwhelming force 
of the stream was felt by my horse ; and he presently lost his 
footing, though he still continued to struggle vigorously against 
the force of the current. At this juncture, some passing clouds 
obscured the moon, and I lost sight of a group of trees which, 
before leaving the opposite bank, I fixed my eye upon as a guiding 

* Guides, who conduct travellers across rivers, being well acquainted 
with the fords. They are also called Vadeadores. 


beacon. Quite powerless, my horse and I were cnrried away by 
the stream, and driven against a rock in the middle of the river. 
I now heard the anxious outcries of my negro and the travellers 
on the bank, whilst the waves rose over my head. With a con 
vulsive effort I pulled the bridle, and the horse then turning com- 
pletely round, once more gained his solid footing. I then gave 
him the spur, and the courageous animal dashing again into the 
midst of the current, swam with me to the bank. I rode forward 
with my negro in search of a better fording-place, and after seve 
ral fruitless attempts, we at length found one, and we crossed the 
river safely. The other travellers did not venture to follow our 
example, but called out begging us not to leave them behind. I 
sent the negro back on my horse to bring them over ; and the 
noble animal went backward and forward no less than seven times 
without making one false step. After all this exertion, he bore 
me with unflagging spirit into Lima, where we arrived at noon 
on the following day. 

From the Pasamayo, the road runs for the space of two leagues 
tolerably level, and for the most part amidst plantations. Then 
succeed steep sandy hills, for the distance of about four leagues. 
The roads are very wearisome both to horse and rider, especially 
in the declivities towards the plains, where the horse is frequently 
over his knees in sand. In those parts there are also some ex 
traordinary atmospheric mirrors, in which we beheld ourselves 
in reflection, riding over our own heads, and our figures magni 
fied to gigantic proportions. Six leagues from Chancay, there 
are two wretched huts, forming the tambo, or inn, in which tra 
vellers obtain refreshment. From thence the road runs through 
a stony tract, partially strewn with large masses of rock, called 
the Piedras gordas, and leading to the marshes which surround 
the Copacahuana plantations. Two leagues further on is the 
river Chillon, which, like the Pasamayo, may generally be easily 
forded, but which swells furiously during heavy falls of rain. 
At a short distance behind the river, the road, called the Carnino 
de Valles, joins that leading to Cerro de Pasco. About a league 
from Lima there is a place called Palo seco, which, like Piedras 
gordas, is a celebrated haunt of robbers. The traveller has rea. 
son to congratulate himself if he passes these two places without 
an attack. 



The Coast southward of Lima Chilca Curious Cigar cases made there 
Yauyos Pisco Journey to Yea A night on the Sand Plains Fatal 
Catastrophe in the year 1823 Vine Plantations at Yea Brandy and 
Wine Don Domingo Elias Vessels for transporting Brandy (Botijas 
and odres) Cruel mode of skinning Goats Negro Carnival Peculiar 
species of Guinea Pig The Salamanqueja Cotton Plantations Que- 
brada of Huaitara Sangallan Guano Retrospect of the Peruvian Coast 
Rivers Medanos Winds Change of Seasons the Garuas The Lo- 
mas Mammalia Birds Amphibia. 

THE coast, southward of Lima, is similar in aspect, climate, and 
character, to those parts north of the city which have just been 
described. Fruitful valleys, villages, and plantations, commo 
dious sea-ports, and vast sandy wastes, alternate one with the 
other. Heat, sometimes almost insupportable, is succeeded by 
chilly and unhealthy mists ; whilst here and there the scattered 
monuments of the wealth and greatness of bygone ages present 
a remarkable and painful contrast to present poverty and misery. 
Proceeding southward of Lima by way of Lurin, we arrive at 
Chilca, a wretched village situated on a soil which affords no 
thing to supply the wants of human existence. It appears an 
incomprehensible mystery that man should have fixed his abode 
on a spot where Nature has granted nothing for his nourishment, 
not even a drop of pure water ; whilst at the distance of a few 
miles, luxuriant valleys offer, spontaneously, those products which 
the most laborious toil must fail to extort from the ungrateful soil 
of Chilca. The hope of wealth from commercial speculation or 
mining industry has peopled many inhospitable shores, and has 
raised populous towns on barren deserts ; but at Chilca there are 
no such stimuli of interests. Nevertheless, they may possibly 
have existed in former ages, for the numerous ruins scattered 


around the village tend to confirm the opinion that the population 
was very extensive under the government of the Incas. The 
force of custom and of local attachment which frequently chains 
man to the spot where his progenitors have lived happily, is all 
that can hind the natives of Chilca to their miserable dwelling- 
place. In few villages, as in Chilca, have the Indians for more 
than 300 years so carefully avoided mixing with people of other 
races. They employ themselves in plaiting straw for hats and 
cigar-cases. The latter they make in a singularly beautiful 
style with white and colored straw, which they plait into various 
figures and patterns sometimes into names, and even lines of 
poetry. Some of these cigar-cases sell for upwards of a hun 
dred dollars. Fishing is a less profitable occupation to the peo 
ple of Chilca, or, as they are called in the country, the Chilque- 
nos ; for, owing to the great distance, only certain kinds of fish 
can be sent to the Lima market. Near the village there is a 
bed of very strong red-colored salt, which is exported to the 
mountains, but which sells at a lower price than the salt of 

Five leagues south of Chilca, on the river of the same name, 
lies the village called Caiiete, which is the residence of a Sub- 
prefect. The very interesting province of Yauyos extends from 
this village in an easterly direction towards the Cordilleras. 
The inhabitants of this province are distinguishable by their 
faces and figures, and also by their manners and language, from 
the Indians of the coast and the mountains. In stature they are 
small. They have expanded foreheads, animated eyes, promi 
nent cheek-bones, and wide mouths. Their limbs are slender, 
and their skin is of a swarthy brown. Their dialect, the Cauqui, 
contains many radical words of the Quichua language. After 
this nation was subjugated by the Incas their language was so 
intermixed with others, that it is now very difficult to trace out 
its origin. It appears to be totally different from the Chinchay- 
suyo language. 

Some very considerable sugar plantations, and several villages, 
lie between Canete and Pisco. Among the villages, Lunahuana 
and Chincha (upper and lower) are celebrated for their great fer 
tility. Two rivers, at the distance of five leagues from each 


other, flow in a parallel direction between Chincha and Pisco, 
and to their waters the valleys are indebted for their rich vegeta 
tion. On account of their width these rivers can only be passed 
with the assistance of Chimbadores, and many travellers annually 
perish in their incautious attempts to ford them. The little town 
of Pisco is on the left bank of the south river, and half a league 
from it there is a secure harbor with good anchoring ground. 
This town has acquired some importance by the exportation of 
brandy ; and it has recently become more active and populous 
owing to the near vicinity of the Guano islands. The custom 
house and the port captain s office are on the shore, where there 
is also a large building erected by Don Domingo Elias, for a 
brandy depot. The little town of Pisco has suffered much from 
the plundering attacks of European pirates, from earthquakes, 
and more recently from the War of Independence. Several 
parts of it have been rebuilt. Within the few last years much 
has been done in the way of improving and ornamenting it. A 
broad trench has been dug round the town, serving the purpose 
of drainage, and thereby greatly contributing to preserve the 
health of the place. Pisco is merely the key to the large in 
terior town of Yea, which is fourteen leagues distant. I visited 
it in the year 1842. The steamer conveyed me in eighteen 
hours from Callao to Pisco, where I hired horses and a guide. 
He was a Catalonian, who had frequently travelled to Yea. 

At three o clock, p. M., we left Pisco. At first the road passed 
over very hard ground, then through deep sand, which continued 
till we got to Yea. Notwithstanding the heat, which in the month 
of February is insupportable, I was wrapped up in my woollen 
poncho. Experience had taught me that in the hotter districts 
the change of temperature which takes place at night, and causes 
fever, is least injurious when the traveller is protected in warm 
clothing. My Catalonian guide, who, with his arms covered 
merely by his shirt sleeves, nevertheless suffered greatly from 
the heat, could not comprehend why I had chosen such a dress. 
When I informed him that eleven days before I had, in the same 
clothing, passed a night on the Cordilleras, in the midst of snow, 
he shook his head in token of incredulity. Whilst the bell rang 
for evening prayers we rode into the Huilla Curin Plantation, 


which is surrounded by a charming grove of palm trees. We 
stopped for a few moments to gather some excellent figs. About 
midnight a heavy fog spread over the plain, and veiled from our 
sight a cross on the south, which had hitherto served to keep us 
in the right direction. We, however, advanced about a league 
farther. The Catalonian then often alighted to smell the sand, in 
order to ascertain whether We were taking the proper course. 
This is a very good practical method ; for in deserts through 
which caravans frequently pass, the dung of the beasts of bur 
then mixed with the sand affords a sure indication of the track. 
When we had got about three quarters of a league farther on, 
we came close against a rock, which my guide in whose ac 
quaintance with the locality I had the most unbounded confi 
dence declared was quite unknown to him. There was there 
fore no doubt that we had got out of the right course. I lighted 
a cigar, and on examining, by its feeble light, my pocket com 
pass, I discovered that instead of keeping to the south-east we 
had diverged to the west. As there was now no hope that the 
fog would clear away before day-break, we rolled ourselves in 
the warm sand, to await the coming morning. 

I afterwards learned that in this very spot numerous travellers 
had lost their way, and had perished of thirst. In the year 182,3, 
a ship stranded on this coast, with three hundred and twenty 
dragoons on board, under the command of Colonel Lavalle. The 
soldiers succeeded in getting ashore, but thirty-six hours after 
wards they were lost in this sandy desert. When intelligence 
of the shipwreck reached Pisco, a cavalry regiment was despatched 
to search for the sufferers, and to supply them with provisions 
and water ; but when they were found it was discovered that one 
hundred and sixteen men had died from fatigue and thirst, and a 
few days after fifty more perished from exhaustion. It is gene 
rally supposed that a healthy man can live four or five days un- 
supplied with food and drink. In the temperate climate of Europe, 
and with bodily rest, this, perhaps, may be the case ; but in the 
burning wastes of Peru to be deprived of nourishment for only 
forty-eight hours, and at the same time to wander about in deep 
sand, would be followed by certain death. Severe thirst is tho 
most horrible of torments, especially when the body is surrounded 


by a medium altogether of an arid nature. At sea it can be 
much longer endured than on a surface of sand. 

When the grey dawn of morning appeared we again mounted 
our horses, and rode by my compass in the direction of E.S.E. 
After riding a few leagues, we turned an acute angle, which 
brought us into the main road, and we arrived that forenoon in 

On my return I so arranged my journey as to pass the night 
in Huilla Curin, where the horses were supplied with forage, 
consisting of the shoots and leaves of the Mastick-tree (scliinus 

Yea is a moderately large and very agreeably situated town. 
Like most of the larger towns on the coast it is peopled vvitli 
inhabitants of all colors, particularly Mestizos. It is the resi 
dence of a sub-prefect and many rich planters. Scarcely any 
thing but the vine is cultivated in the Haciendas of the environs ; 
and this branch of husbandry contributes greatly to enrich the 
province. It is astonishing to sse with what facility the vine 
thrives in a soil apparently so unfruitful. The young shoots are 
stuck into the sand almost half a foot deep, then tied up and left 
to themselves. They quickly take root and shoot forth leaves. 
Whilst the surrounding country bears the appearance of a desert, 
the vineyards of Yea are clothed in delightful verdure. The 
grapes are of superior quality, very succulent and sweet. The 
greater part are used for making brandy, which is extremely 
good and very well flavored. All Peru and a great part of Chile 
are supplied with this liquor from the Vale of Yea. The com 
mon brandy is called Aguardiente de Pisco, because it is shipped 
at that port. A kind of brandy of superior quality, and much 
dearer, made from Muscatel grapes, is called Aguardiente de 
Italia. It is distinguished by a very exquisite flavor. Very 
little wine is made at Yea. In some plantations they make a 
thick dark-brown kind, which is very sweet, and much liked by 
the Peruvians, though not very agreeable to a European palate. 
Only one planter, Don Domingo Elias,* the richest and most 

* Elias is eminent not only as an extensive landowner and cultivator, but 
as a statesman. During the revolution of 1843 and 1844, he was called 
upon to place himself at the head of the government. He discharged the 


speculative cultivator on the whole coast, makes wine in the 
European manner. It is very like the wine of Madeira and 
TenerifFe, only it is more fiery, and contains a more considerable 
quantity of alcohol. Specimens which have been sent to Europe 
have obtained the unqualified approbation of connoisseurs. The 
flavor is considerably improved by a long sea voyage. 

The brandy, which is exported by sea, is put into large ves 
sels made of clay, called lotijas. In form they are like a pear, 
the broad ends being downwards. At the top there is a small 
aperture, which is hermetically closed with gypsum. The large 
loiija when filled weighs six or seven arobas. Two are a load 
for a mule. To the pack-saddle, or aparejo, two baskets are 
fastened, in which the lotijas are placed with the small ends 
downwards. These lotijas were formerly also used for conveying 
the brandy across the mountains ; but, in consequence of the 
dangerous, slippery roads, over which the mules often fell, many 
were broken. Still greater damage was sustained at the springs 
and wells on the coast, for the poor animals, after their long 
journeys through the sandy wastes, rushed, on perceiving water, 
in full flight to the springs. As it happens that there is often room 
for only five or six mules, and from seventy to eighty were often 
pressing forward, a great number of the lotijas were unavoidably 
dashed to pieces in spite of all the caution the arrieros could 
exercise. The annual loss of brandy was immense, and to coun 
teract this evil, bags of goatskin were introduced. These skins 
are now generally used for the conveyance of brandy across the 
mountains. The method of skinning the goats is the most hor 
ribly cruel that can be conceived. A negro hangs the living 
animal up by the horns, and makes a circular incision round his 
neck, which, however, goes no further than to the flesh. He 
then draws the skin from the body of the writhing animal, which 
utters the most frightful cries. When the skin is completely 
removed, and not till then, is the suffering animal killed. The 
negroes assert that the skin is most easily removed in this man- 
duties of that high office with singula- judgment and moderation. He and 
his lady are distinguished for their courteous and liberal hospitality ; and 
many foreign visitors, like myself, look back with pleasure on the happi 
ness they derived from the friendship of Don Domingo Eliaa 


ner, and that the odres* become thereby more durable. It is to 
be hoped that humanely disposed planters will soon put an end 
to this barbarous and unreasonable practice. 

I happened to be in Yea at the time of the celebration of the 
negro carnival, which I will here briefly describe. In some of 
the principal streets of the town large arches are erected, and 
gaily decorated with ribbons. Round these arches negresses 
and mestizas dance, and endeavor to stop the negroes whilst 
riding at full gallop under the arches. The negroes start from 
the distance of about one hundred paces, and gallop straight to 
the boundary, where the women endeavor to seize the bridle, and 
to throw the rider from his saddle. The task of the men is to 
ride past the women without being stopped ; and when they fail 
in SQ doing, they have to pay a fine, and are hooted into the bar 
gain. It is hard to say which is most surprising ; the speed of 
the horses, the dexterity of the riders, or the courage of the ne 
gresses, who fearlessly throw themselves in the way of the gal 
loping horses. During the race the negroes are pelted with 
unripe oranges and lemons, which, when thrown by the vigorous 
arm of a zamba, inflict a sufficiently heavy blow. I saw a negro 
gallop to and fro for the space of an hour, at full speed, and 
every time he passed under the arch he dexterously evaded the 
outstretched hands of the women ; thus giving proof of uncom 
mon bodily strength. While dashing at full speed through the 
arch of the bridge, and leaning forward on the horse s neck, he 
seized two negresses, one with each of his arms, and pulled them 
into the saddle beside him. 

The climate of Yea is hot, and not altogether healthy, for the 
torrents of rain which fall from the hills swell the river so as to 
make it overflow its lower bank, where marshes are formed, in 
which malaria is developed. Most of the plantations in the en 
virons are more healthy. 

All the bushes in the vicinity of the town are inhabited by a 
kind of Guinea pig (Cavia Cuttleri, King). These animals are 
exceedingly numerous. After sunrise and towards evening, 
they leave their lurking places and play about in the grass. 

* An odre is a goat-skin prepared for carrying wine 

GUANO. 167 

Upon the whole they are not shy, and they allow people to ap 
proach them pretty closely. The natives call this little animal 
the Cui del Monies, and they believe it to be the progenitor of the 
tame Guinea pig. This notion is, however, quite erroneous. 

Along the whole of the Peruvian coast there is found a small 
animal of the lizard kind, of which the natives are very much 
afraid. They call it the Salamanqueja. It lives in the fissures 
of walls, and is sometimes seen creeping along the lime plaster 
of houses. Its bite is believed to be mortal. From the descrip 
tions given of this animal, I was curious to see it, and I commis 
sioned some persons to procure me one. At last, an Indian 
brought me a specimen very much crushed, and I found that I 
had already got several of them in my collections. I now obtained 
more of them, and the natives beheld me with astonishment 
carrying them alive in my hand. Of the Salamanqueja there 
are two species, the Diplodactylus lepidopygus, Tsch., and the 
Discodactylus phacophorus, Tsch. They are nearly related to 
each other, being only distinguished by one species having an 
orifice in the thighs, serving as a passage for an issue from a 
gland which secretes a very acrid fluid. This little animal never 
bites ; but it is possible that the fluid by touching a fresh wound, 
or scratch, may cause very serious consequences. 

To the south of Yea there are some large cotton plantations ; 
the most considerable of which belong to Don Domingo Elias. 
The cotton for exportation is shipped at the port of San Nicolas. 
Many experienced captains of ships declare the bay of San Nico 
las to be the safest and best along the whole of the western coast 
of South America. 

The Quebrada of Huaitara, which stretches to the east of Yea, 
is the principal channel of communication between this part of 
the coast and the rich mountain provinces of Jauja and Huanca- 
velica, and from the latter places to Ayacucho and Cosco. 

Opposite to Pisco and Chinca there is a group of small islands, 
of which the largest, Sangallan, is six English miles distant from 
Pisco. These islands have of late years become celebrated on 
account of the great quantity of guano that has been exported 
from them. 

Guano (or according to the more correct orthography, Hua- 


nu)* is found on these islands in enormous layers of from 35 to 
40 feet thick. The upper strata are of a greyish-brown color, 
which lower down becomes darker. In the lower strata the color 
is a rusty red, as if tinged by oxide of iron. The Guano becomes 
progressively more and more solid from the surface downward, a 
circumstance naturally accounted for by the gradual deposite of 
the strata, and the evaporation of the fluid particles. Guano is 
found on all the islands, and on most of the uninhabited pro 
montories of the west coast of South America, especially in those 
parts within the tropics. I have often been assured that beds of 
Guano several feet high, covered with earth, are found inland at 
some distance from the sea ; but I never met with any, and I 
have some doubt of the correctness of the statement. If, however, 
these inland strata really exist, I am inclined to believe that they 
can only be found on hilly ground ; and in that case they afford 
strong evidence of a considerable elevation of the coast. 

Guano is formed of the excrements of different kinds of marine 
birds, as mews, divers, sheerbeaks, &c. ; but the species which 
I can name with more precision are the following : Lams nw- 
destus, Tsch. ; Rhinchops nigra, Lin. ; Plotus AnMnga, Lin. ; 
Pchcanus thayus, Mol ; Phalacrocorax Gaimardii, and albigula, 
Tsch. (Pelecanus Gaimardii, Less., Carlo albigula, Brandt), 
and chiefly the Sula variegata, Tsch. 

The immense flocks of these birds as they fly along the coast 
appear like clouds. When their vast numbers, their extraordinary 
voracity, and the facility with which they procure their food, are 
considered, one cannot be surprised at the magnitude of the beds 
of Guano, which have resulted from uninterrupted accumulations 

* The original word is Huanu, which is a term in the Quichua dialect 
meaning " animal dung ;" for example, Huanac.iihuanu (excrement of the 
Huanacu). As the word is now generally used it is an abbreviation of Pishu 
Huanu Bird-dung. The Spaniards have converted the final syllable nu 
into no, as they do in all the words adopted from the Quichua which have 
the like termination. The European orthography Guano, which is also fol 
lowed in Spanish America, is quite erroneous, for the Quichua language is 
deficient in the letter G, as it is in several other consonants. The //, in 
the commencement of the word, is strongly aspirated, whence the error in 
the orthography of the Spaniards, who have sadly corrupted the language 
of the Autochthones of Peru. 

GUANO. 109 

during many thousands of years. I kept for some days a living 
Sula variegata, which I fed abundantly with fish. The average 
weight of the excrement daily was from 3| to five ounces. I 
have no doubt that when the bird is in a state of freedom the 
weight must be much greater, for these birds arc constantly 
plunging into the sea, in order to devour the fishes which they 
find in extraordinary masses around all the islands. When an 
island is inhabited by millions of sea-birds, though two-thirds of 
the guano should be lost while flying, still a very considerable 
stratum would be accumulated in the course of a year. 

The marine birds nestle on the uninhabited islands, or on 
rocks r\ear the shore ; but they never settle on the flat beach, or 
any place distant from it inland. On this fact, I ground my 
conjecture that those beds of guano in the interior, which may 
have been removed from the shore by. important elevations of the 
coast, are to be found only on hills. 

During the first year of the deposit the strata are white, and 
the guano is then called Guano Blanco. In the opinion of the 
Peruvian cultivators, this is the most efficacious kind. It is 
found in the Punta de Hormillos, on the islands of Islay, Jesus, 
Margarita, &c. 

As soon as the dealers in guano begin to work one of the beds, 
the island on which it is formed, is abandoned by the birds. It 
has also been remarked, that since the increase of trade and 
navigation, they have withdrawn from the islands in the neigh 
borhood of the ports. 

Much has recently been written on the employment and utility 
of guano ; but the manner in which it is applied as manure in 
Peru, seems to be but little known. The Peruvians use it 
chiefly in the cultivation of maize and potatoes. A few weeks 
after the seeds begin to shoot, a little hollow is dug round each 
root, and is filled up with guano, which is afterwards covered 
with a layer of earth. After the lapse of twelve or fifteen hours, 
the whole field is laid under water, and is left in that state for 
some hours. Of the Guano Blanco a less quantity suffices, and 
the field must be more speedily and abundantly watered, other 
wise the roots would be destroyed. The effect of this manure 
is incredibly rapid. In a few days the growth of a plant is 



doubled. If the manure be repeated a second time, but in 
smaller quantity, a rich harvest is certain. At least, the produce 
will be threefold that which would have been obtained fiom the 
unmanured soil. 

The haciendas of the valley of Chancay have, during the last 
fifty years, consumed annually from 33,000 to 36,000 bushels 
of guano brought from the islands of Chancha and Pisco. The 
price of the bushel of colored guano is one dollar and a quarter, 
and Ihe price of the white from two to three dollars. The price 
has recently undergone many fluctuations, in consequence of the 
great exports to Europe. 

The employment of this kind of manure is very ancient in 
Peru ; and there is authentic evidence of its having been used 
in the time of the Incas. The white guano was then chiefly 
found on the islands opposite to Chincha ; so that for upwards of 
600 years the deposit has been progressively removed from those 
islands without any apparent decrease of the accumulation. 
The uniformity of climate on a coast where there is not much 
rain, must contribute to render the Peruvian guano a more arid 
manure than the African, as fewer of the saline particles of the 
former being in solution, they are consequently less subject to 

From 3 35 to 21 48 south latitude, a plain of sand, 540 
leagues long, and varying from 3 to 20 leagues in breadth, 
stretches along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. It is intersected 
by chains of small hillocks, which, extending westward from the 
Cordilleras, gradually diminish in height, and either become 
blended with the plain, or form abrupt promontories, which pro 
ject into the sea. Between the river Loa, which marks the 
southern frontier of the Peruvian coast, and the Tumbez, on the 
northern boundary, fifty-nine rivers, great and small, pass 
through the line of coast. Proceeding from the avalanches of 
the Andes or the small alpine lakes, they force their way 
through narrow mountain-valleys, irrigate the waste grounds, 
and then, after brief courses, flow into the great ocean. 

A fine light yellow drift sand covers hill and dale. It is only 
where rivers intersect the plain that oases of luxuriant vegeta 
tion are formed. The peril of traversing these plains is greatly 


increased by the movability of the sand and the Medanos. The 
strong winds raise immense clouds of dust and sand. The sand 
rises in columns of from eighty to a hundred feet high, which 
whirl about in all directions, as if moved by magic. Sometimes 
they suddenly overshadow the traveller, who only escapes from 
them by rapid riding. 

The medanos are hillock-like elevations of sand, some having 
a firm, others a loose base. The former, which are always 
crescent-shaped, are from ten to twenty feet high, and have an 
acute crest. The inner side is perpendicular, and the outer or 
bow side forms an angle with a steep inclination downward. 
When driven by violent winds, the medanos pass rapidly over 
the plains. The smaller and lighter ones move quickly for 
wards before the larger ones ; but the latter soon overtake and 
crush them, whilst they are themselves shivered by the collision. 
These medanos assume all sorts of extraordinary figures, and 
sometimes move along the plain in rows forming most intricate 
labyrinths, whereby what might otherwise be visible in the dis 
tance is withdrawn from the view of the traveller. A plain 
often appears to be covered with a row of medanos, and some 
days afterwards it is again restored to its level and uniform as 
pect. Persons who have the greatest experience of the coast 
are apt to mistake their way, when they encounter these sand 

The medanos with immovable bases are formed on the blocks 
of rock which are scattered about the plain. The sand is driven 
against them by the wind, and as soon as it reaches the top point 
it descends on the other side until that is likewise covered ; thus 
gradually arises a conical-formed hill. Entire hillock-chains 
with acute crests are formed in a similar manner. The smaL 
hillock-chain, by which the coast is intersected obliquely from 
east to west, is a boundary which arrests the progress of the 
wandering medanos ; otherwise fruitful oases would soon be con 
verted into barren sand-flats. A correct observation of these 
hillock-chains affords a most certain scale for ascertaining the 
direction of the prevailing wind. On their southern declivities 
are found vast masses of sand drifted thither by the mid-day 
gales. The northern declivity, though not steeper than the 


southern, is only sparingly covered with sand. If a hillock- 
chain somewhat distant from the sea extends in a line parallel 
with the Andes, namely from SS.E. to NN.W., the western 
declivity is almost entirely free of sand, as it is driven to the 
plain below by the southeast wind, which constantly alternates 
with the wind from the south. 

The movements and new formations in the deserts (like re 
storations from death to life) are only in full activity during the 
hot season ; for then the parched sand yields to the slightest 
pressure of the atmosphere. In the cold season its weight in 
creases by the absorption of humidity. The particles unite in 
masses, and more easily resist the wind. In the meantime the 
hillocks also acquire more firmness or compression ty the in 
creased weight which presses on them from above. 

In November, summer commences. The rays of the sun are 
refracted on the light grey sandy carpet, and are reflected back 
with scorching power. Every living thing which does not 
quickly escape from their influence is devoted to certain destruc 
tion. No plant takes root in the burning soil, and no animal 
finds food on the arid lifeless surface. No bird, no insect moves 
in the burning atmosphere. Only in the very loftiest regions, 
the king of the air, the majestic condor, may be seen floating, 
with daring wing, on his way to the sea coast. Only where the 
ocean and the desert blend with each other is there life and move 
ment. Flocks of carrion crows swarm over the dead remains of 
marine animals scattered along the shore. Otters and seals im 
part life to the inaccessible rocks ; hosts of coast birds eagerly 
pounce on the fish and mollusca cast on shore ; variegated liz 
ards sport on the sand hillocks ; and busy crabs and sea spiders 
work their way by furrows through the humid coast. 

The scene changes in May. A thin veil of mist then over 
spreads the sea and the shore. In the following months the 
thickness of the mist increases, and it is only in October that it 
begins to disperse. In the beginning and at the end of the period 
called winter this mist commonly rises between nine and ten 
o clock in the morning, and disappears about three, P.M. It is 
heaviest in August and September ; and it then lies for weeks 
mmoveable on the earth. It does not resolve into what may 


be properly called rain, but it becomes a fine minute precipitate 
which the natives call GARUA (thick fog or drizzling rain). 
Many travellers have alleged that there are places on the Peru 
vian coast which have been without rain for centuries. The 
assertion is to a certain degree correct, for there are many dis 
tricts in which there never is rain except after an earthquake, 
and not always even then. 

Though the garua sometimes falls in large drops, still there is 
this distinction between it and rain, that it descends not from 
clouds at a great height, but is formed in the lower atmospheric 
regions, by the union of small bubbles of mist. The average 
perpendicular height over which this fog passes does not exceed 
one thousand two hundred feet ; its medium boundary is from 
seven to eight hundred feet. That it is known only within a 
few miles of the sea is a highly curious phenomenon ; beyond 
those few miles it is superseded by heavy rains ; and the boun 
dary line between the rain and the mist may be defined with 
mathematical precision. I know two plantations, the one six 
leagues from Lima, the other in the neighborhood of Huacho : 
one half of these lands is watered by the garuas, the other half 
by rain, and the boundary line is marked by a wall. 

When the mists set in, the chain of hillocks (Lomas) bordering 
the sand-flats on the coasts undergoes a complete change. As 
if by a stroke of magic, blooming vegetation overspreads the soil, 
which, a few days previously, was a mere barren wilderness. 
Horses and cattle are driven into these parts for grazing, and 
during several months the animals find abundance of rich pas 
ture. There is, however, no water; but they do not appear to 
suffer from the want of it, for they are always in good healthy 
condition on leaving the Lomas. 

In some parts of northern Peru, where the garuas are scanty, 
the fertility of the soil depends wholly on the mountain rains, for 
in summer most of the rivers are dried up. When there is a 
deficiency of rain, the cattle on the coast suffer greatly. A few 
years ago a haciendado, or cultivator, in the vale of Piura, lost 
42,000 sheep ; the usual flood, without which the necessary fod 
der could not be raised, did not come on at the proper time. At 
Piura there is such a total absence of dew, that a sheet of paper 


left for a whole night in the open air does not, in the morning, 
exhibit the smallest trace of humidity. In central and south 
Peru the moisture scarcely penetrates half an inch into the 

In the oases the garuas are much heavier than in the adjacent 
wastes. Along the whole of the coast there is no rain, and no 
vegetation throughout a large circuit. The rain commences 
first in the north at Tumbez, and there extensive woods are seen. 
Towards the east it begins first in the valleys of the Cordilleras, 
which abound in vegetation. These very extraordinary pheno 
mena remain as yet unexplained ; they, however, merit the 
closest investigation of meteorologists. 

I may conclude this chapter by a brief view of the Fauna of 
the higher vertebral animals. In the region of the coast I have 
found twenty-six species af mammalia, only eight of which be 
long exclusively to the coast. Sixteen of the other species are 
to be found in the mountains or in the forests. The relation of 
this number to the whole of the mammalia of Peru is 1 : 4, 3. 
Distributed by single orders, they are in the following propor 
tions : Bats, four species, of which only one ( Vespertilio innox- 
ius, Gerv.) belongs to this region alone. Beasts of prey, ten 
kinds ; among them one of the mephitic class, known to the na 
tives by the name of zorillo, or ahash ; an otter (Lutra chilensis, 
Ben.) ; a fox (Canis azarce, Pr. Max.), which abounds in the cot 
ton plantations in the neighborhood of Lima and throughout all 
the Lomas, where he preys on the lambs ; several of the feline 
race, among which are the two great American species the 
puma and the ounce, which are seldom seen on the coast, but 
are considerably larger than those in the mountains. The 
American lion is timid, and shuns man. When caught young 
he is easily tamed. The Indians of the northern provinces 
sometimes bring these lions to Lima, and get money for showing 
them. They lead them by a string, or put them in large sacks, 
and carry them about on their backs, until a show-loving crowd 
assembles around them. The ounces are very bold and fierce. 
They penetrate into plantations, and attack children and horses. 
They very cunningly avoid the numerous snares laid for them 
by the Indians. An encounter with Ihis animal is serious and 

BIRDS. 175 

dangerous. A hunt seldom ends without some of the pursuers 
being killed or wounded by the animal. 

I have already spoken of the seals. There are three kinds of 
didelphic or marsupial animals on the coast. The natives call 
them mucamuca. They live in bushes and shrubberies, and they 
often find their way into the store-rooms of the plantations. 

Of the great section of the Rodentia, I know of only seven 
species in Peru ; but I have no doubt that this number might be 
doubled by a careful search in the valleys on the coast. Tho 
common house-mouse is very numerous in Lima. The brown 
rat appears seldom. It came to Peru only a few years ago ; but 
there is reason to apprehend that it will soon be very numerous. 
Probably it has been imported by Hamburgh ships. In Callao I 
saw specimens of some that had been killed. I did not see the 
common black rat in Peru. 

The Armadillo (Dasypus tatuay, Dcsm., L.) is seldom seen. 
It is found in some of the Yucca and Camote plantations. The 
negroes eat it, and its flesh is said to be good. 

Of wild ruminating animals there is only one on the coast : it 
is a kind of Roe (Cervus ne?norivagus, F. Cuv., the venadoof the 
natives). The venados chiefly inhabit the brushwood along the 
coast ; but after sunset they visit the plantations, where they 
commit considerable damage. They are smaller than our Euro 
pean roe, and somewhat more brown. Englishmen at Lima go 
out to hunt them. The natives do not take much interest in the 
chase. This animal is also met with in the coldest regions of the 
Cordilleras ; but it does not come down to the old forests, where 
the Red Deer (Cervus rvfus, F. Cuv.) supplies its absence. 

In the woods which surround some of the plantations in the 
valleys of Lima, wild boars (Chanchos Simaroncs) are occasionally 
found. They are of immense size. At the plantation called the 
Hacienda de Caraponga, one was killed, of which the head alone 
was an ordinary burthen for a mule. 

The number of birds in this very extensive quarter of Peru 
(the marine and river fowl being excepted) is very inconsidera 
ble. The scarcity of woods and high trees may probably account 
for this. Besides the carrion vulture, condors collect in great 
numbers on the shore to prey on the stranded whales. Falcons 


seldom appear, except the small Sparrow Hawk (Falco sparve* 
rius, L.), which is very numerous in Peru. One of the most 
common birds is the little Earth Owl (Noclua urucurea, Less.), 
which is met with in nearly all the old ruins scattered along the 
coast. The Pearl Owl (Strix perlata, L.) is bred in several 
plantations, as it is found useful in catching mice. Swallows are 
not very common ; they do not nestle on the housetops, but on 
walls at some distance from towns. The Peruvians give them 
the euphonious name, Palomitas de Santa Rosa (Santa Rosa s lit 
tle pigeons). Among the singing-birds the Crowned Fly King 
(Myoarchus coronatus, Cab.) is the most distinguished. The 
head, breast, and belly of this bird are deep red, the wings and 
back very dark brown. He always plants himself on the high 
est point of a tree, flies perpendicularly upward, whirls about in 
the air singing, and drops down again straight to his former 
perch. The Limeiios have given this elegant bird a very unbe 
coming name, which I need not repeat here. On some parts of 
the coast it is called Saca-tu-real (draw out your real), because 
his song sounds like these words. Some fine Tanagers (Tana-, 
gra frugilega, Tsch. ; Tanagra analis, Tsch.) visit the fruit 
gardens round Lima. I saw two birds, of the starling species, 
the red-bellied Picho (Sturnella militaris, Viell.), and the glossy- 
black Chivillo (Cassicus palliatus, Tsch.), which are kept in 
cages on account of their very melodious song. Three kinds of 
parrots, which abound in the valleys on the coast, commit great 
depredations in the maize fields. The largest (Conurus tumultu- 
osus, Tsch.) is green, with a red forehead, and some red feathers 
scattered over the body. A second sort builds its nest chiefly on 
the sides of rocks (Conurus rupicola, Tsch.), and only occasion 
ally visits the plantations. The third is the smallest, but at the 
same time the most beautiful of the whole (Conurus sitophaga, 
Tsch.). A fine green overspreads all the upper part of the body, 
a blue fringe borders the feathers of the wings ; and a bright 
citron-yellow is diffused over the forehead, neck, breast, and 
belly. It is only seven inches long. Pigeons, large and small, 
swarm in such multitudes over the corn-fields, and in the envi 
rons, that they may almost be called the great plague of the 
country. One of the finest is the little Turtuli (Cliaemepdia gra* 


cttis, Tsch.), on the wing of which there is a row of very beau- 
tiful shining violet spots. The Cuculi, one of the largest pigeons, 
is a great favorite. It is kept much in cages. Its song, which 
is monotonous, yet very melodious, is kept up from the earliest 
hours of the morning until midday, and it begins again nearly at 
sunset. The song consists merely of a threefold repetition of 
cu-cu-li. After a pause, it resumes the song again. There are, 
however, some of those birds which repeat the cuculi oftener than 
thrice, and their price increases according to the number of their 
uninterrupted repetitions, which seldom exceed five or six. In 
Cocachacra, however, I heard one of these birds which re 
peated its cuculi fourteen times. The owner would not sell it 
under fourteen gold ounces. 

The amphibia on the Peruvian coast are proportionally much 
better represented than the two foregoing classes. The gigantic 
tortoises (Chdonia imbricata and Ch. midas, Schweig.) visit in 
great numbers the few little frequented inlets. The elephant 
tortoise (Testudo Schweigeri) is often found on some islands, and 
in the marshy mouths of several rivers. 

Two kinds of Crocodiles (Champsa sderops and Ch. jissipcs, 
Wagl.) inhabit the Rio de la Chira. They grow to the length 
of fourteen or fifteen feet. 

Among the lizard class of reptiles, very large bright green 
Iguanas are found on the south coast ; for instance, in the Caletas 
near Merillones, &c. ; but there are great numbers of the land 
Agama, of which I found several new species, viz., Steirolepis 
tigris, thoracica, quadrivittata, xanthostigma, Tsch. ; Liolaemus 
elegans, Tsch. ; Ctcnollepiiarys adspersa, Tsch., &c., &c. I 
have already mentioned the Gecko, called the Salamanqueja. 

Serpents upon the whole are rather seldom seen. They belong 
to different kinds, some poisonous, some innoxious (for example, 
Zacholus, Psammophis, Oxyrrhopus, Siphfophis, Ophis, Elaps, &c., 
&c.). A very poisonous viper (Eschidna ocellata, Tsch.) in- 
habits the sugar-cane fields. Its bite is almost instantaneously 

The genuine frog is not to be found on the coast, and of the blad 
der frog only two kinds are known (Cystignathus roseus and node- 
sus, Dum. Bibr.). I have found three amphibia of the toad class. 


The Thorn toad (Bufo spinulosus, Wiegam.), which has its body 
thickly covered with a thorny kind of warts. The beautiful red 
spotted toaa (Bufo thaul), and a very curious and ugly kind with 
a round, swelled out body, a loose skin, and a large bladder under 
the chin (Anaxyrus melanchoticus, Tsch.). At night the cry of 
this animal is a discordant melancholy howl. 



Roads leading to the Sierra Chaclacayo and Santa Ines Barometrical 
observations San Pedro Mama The Rio Seco Extraordinary Geolo 
gical Phenomenon Similar one described by Mr. Darwin Surco 
Diseases peculiar to the Villages of Peru The Verugas Indian mode 
of treating the disorder The Bird-catching Spider Horse-Shoeing 
Indian Tambos San Juan de Matucanas The Thorn-apple and the 
Tonga The Tambo de Viso Bridges San Mateo Passports Accha- 
huari Malady called the Veta Its effects on horses Singular tact and 
caution of Mules Antarangra and Mountain Passes Curious partition 
of Water Piedra Parada Yauli Indian Smelting Furnaces Mineral 
Springs Portuguese Mine owners Saco Oroya Hanging Bridges 
Huaros Roads leading from Oroya. 

FROM Lima two main roads lead to the Sierra or the mountains. 
One runs northward through the valley of Canta, in the direction 
of the rich silver mines of Cerro de Pasco ; the other, taking a 
more southerly direction, passes through the Quebrada of Matu 
canas, to the villages of Tarma, Jauja, and Huancayo ; and still 
further south, leads to Huancavelica, Ayacucho, and Cuzco. 
All the roads running from the coast to the Sierra, present a 
similarity of character. Taking an oblique direction from the 
margin of the coast, they run into one or other of the fan-shaped 
Cordillera valleys, all of which are intersected by rivers. Fol 
lowing the course of these rivers, the roads become steeper and 
steeper, and the valleys soon contract into mere ravines, ter 
minating at the foot of the Cordillera. The traveller then threads 
his way up the acclivity, amidst stupendous masses of rock, until 
he reaches the lofty ridge. Then a gradual descent leads to the 
level heights, and thence into the deep mountain valleys. 

Former travellers having already described the route by way 
of Canta, I will here trace the course through the Quebrada of 
Matucanas. lu so doing, I am enabled to present to the reader 


the results of some barometrical observations which are the more 
interesting, inasmuch as the Cordillera here advances more nearly 
to the coast than at any other point. 

The most easterly gate of the city of Lima (the Portada de 
Maravillas) opens upon a broad road, which runs directly east 
ward. At the distance of about a league and a half from the 
city, the road passes over a stone bridge called the Puente de 
Surco, a place famed for robbers. At this point the surrounding 
country presents a wild and dreary aspect. Ranges of grey and 
barren hills encompass the valley ; the grc und is for the most 
part covered with sand and gravel. Desolate remains of planta 
tions and the ruins of habitations bear evidence of the life and 
activity that once animated this desert region, now abandoned by 
all save the fierce bandit and his victim, the solitary traveller. 

Along the margins of the river, patches of moor-ground here 
and there serve as pasture. Clover and maize are produced only 
in those parts where the soil is manured and artificially watered. 
Low brushwood and reeds, growing on the banks of the Rimac, 
supply firewood to the city of Lima, and are a source of profit 
to some of the plantation-owners in the valley. At Periachi, 
four leagues from the capital, the road takes a turn to north-east, 
and continues in that direction, with but little deviation, as far as 
the base of the Cordillera. Two leagues beyond Pariachi we 
reach Chaclacayo, a village containing about thirty miserable 
reed huts. The plantation of Santa Ines, a little further on, is 
situated at 2386 feet above the level of the sea.* Mr. Maclean, 
an English merchant in Lima, who has sent many interesting 
Peruvian plants to the hothouses of England, and who has made 
some very attentive barometrical observations during a journey 
in the interior of the country, calculates the altitude of Chaclacayo 
at 2265 feet above the sea.f Rivero makes it 2010 feet above 
that level.J The difference between these calculations is re- 

* All these calculations are by English feet. 

f Jardine and Selby s Annals of Natural History. 

J Nivelacion barometrica desde el Callao hasta Pasco, por el camino de 
Obrajillo, y desde el mismo lugar hasta la capital por via de Tarma, hecha 
y calculada por Mariano Eduardo Rivero y Usturitz in Memorial de Cieacias 
naturales, &c. 


markable ; and in more considerable altitudes the discrepancy is 
still more considerable, being sometimes as much as from eight 
to nine hundred feet. I am inclined to believe that it is attributa 
ble less to inaccuracy of observation than to the very imperfect 
instrument made use of by Rivero. Maclean s observations, 
with some trifling exceptions, correspond with mine. He used 
one of Fortin s barometers, and I one of Lefevre s, which, prior 
to my departure from Europe, had, during several weeks, been 
regulated at the observatory in Paris. Unluckily, this excellent 
instrument was injured by a fall from my horse, and I found it 
impossible to get it repaired. Some barometrical observations 
made by M. C. Gay, during a journey in Peru, in the years 
1839-40, with one of Bunten s barometers, deviate very con 
siderably from all those above mentioned. Between the calcula 
tions of Gay and Rivero there is an average difference of from 
six hundred to one thousand feet. 

On the road to Pasco, the Hacienda of Cavallero corresponds, 
in its distance from the capital, with the village of Chaclacayo, 
on the road I am here describing. At Chaclacayo wheat and 
sugar are cultivated. The sugar cane thrives well, and might 
be grown in greater quantity. In some of the coast districts I 
have seen the sugar cane cultivated at the height of 4500 feet 
above the sea ; and I have seen it grow spontaneously, and attain 
perfect maturity, as high as 6800 feet. 

From Santa Ifies the road continues gradually ascending to the 
little village of San Pedro Mama, where the two rivers, San Ma- 
teo and Santa Olaya, unite and form the Rimac. The walls of 
mountain which enclose the valley here rise almost perpendicu 
larly, and afford nestling-places for small, richly-plumed parrots 
(Conurus rupicola, Tsch.). I was much surprised to see these 
birds inhabiting the barren rocks, as the parrot always dwells in 
woody regions, and is found in other places only when on its 
passage. I know no other species of this family, save the one I 
have just mentioned, which permanently nestles on mountains. 

Three leagues beyond San Pedro lies the village of Cocachacra. 
It is a small and poor place, but is picturesquely situated, and 
enjoys a fine climate. Its name, signifying coca-Jield, or planta 
tion, denotes that coca must formerly have been cultivated here. 


At present that plant is not grown in any part near the coast, as 
it requires a damp and very warm climate. Cocachacra is 5386 
feet above the level of the sea. Maclean fixes the altitude of San 
Pedro Mama, Santa Olaya, and Cocachacra, at 5331 feet. Sup 
posing this calculation to be correct with respect to the latter vil 
lage, it cannot also apply to San Pedro Mama ar\d Santa Olaya, 
which lie much lower. At the two last-mentioned places I made 
no barometrical observations. 

On the Pasco road the hamlet of Llanga is situated, at twelve 
leagues from Lima. On the other road Cocachacra is the same 
distance from the capital ; but Cocachacra is about 2400 feet 
higher than Llanga. Between Cavallero and Llanga there is an 
interesting geological phenomenon, which I will here describe. 

At the distance of two leagues from Lima the road takes a turn. 
At first it runs direct north, or north-north-west ; suddenly it turns 
to north-north-east, and advances along the bank of the river Chil- 
lon as far as Cavallero. From thence, with slight deviations, it 
continues in the same course to Llanga, but at a considerable dis 
tance from the river, as the latter takes a wide sweep northward. 
From Cavallero the road runs for the space of three leagues, still 
ascending, through a barren district, along the dry bed of a river, 
called the Rio Seco. The last half-league of the way is very 
steep, and leads to the ridge of a chain of hillocks running dia 
gonally across the valley. The ground is strewed with fragments 
of porphyry and other kinds of rock, like the bed of the Rimac. 
On reaching the ridge of the line of hillocks, the traveller beholds 
on the other side a hollow basin, like the dry bed of a lake : a 
furrow, extending lengthwise through this hollow, is the continua 
tion of the bed of the river which is intersected by the chain of hills. 
Descending into the valley, and again following the course of the 
Rio Seco to the distance of about three leagues, we reach the 
village of Alcocoto, and once more arrive on the bank of the Rio 
de Chillon. 

Here, therefore, we have evidence of the following remarkable 
facts, viz.: that at some former period the river of Chillon flowed 
north westward from Alcocoto to Cavallero, in the bed that is now 
dry ; and that a chain of hills has been upheaved diagonally 
across the valley and the river. By this chain of hills the water, 


being dammed up, formed a lake ; then it was again driven back ; 
until the stream broke into a new course at Alcocoto, by which 
means the lake emptied itself, and, having no new supply of 
water, it dried up. Now the Rio do Chillon flows from Alcocoto 
to Cavallero, taking a wide turn, first westward, next south-west 
ward, and lastly, direct south, until, at a sharp angle, it unites 
with the old bed of the river. The point of junction is a quarter 
of a mile from the Hacienda Cavallero. This is, however, not a 
solitary example of the course of a river being interrupted by the 
uplifting of a ridge of hills. A similar instance is mentioned by 
Mr. Darwin, who, however, did not see it himself, ~ ut who de 
scribes it as follows, from the observation of his countryman, Mr. 
Gill, the engineer : 

" Travelling from Casma to Huaraz, not far distant from Lima, 
he (Mr. Gill) found a plain covered with ruins and marks of an- 
cient cultivation, but now quite barren. Near it was the dry 
course of a considerable river, whence the water for irrigation 
had formerly been conducted. There was nothing in the ap 
pearance of the water-course to indicate that the river had not 
flowed there a few years previously ; in some parts, beds of sand 
and gravel were spread out ; in others, the solid rock had been 
worn into a broad channel, which in one spot was about forty 
yards in breadth, and eight feet deep. It is self-evident that a 
person following up the course of a stream will always ascend 
at a greater or less inclination. Mr. Gill, therefore, was much 
astonished, when walking up the bed of this ancient river, to find 
himself suddenly going down hill. He imagined that the down 
ward slope had a fall of about forty or fifty feet perpendicular. 
We here have unequivocal evidence that a ridge had been up 
lifted right across the old bed of the stream. From the moment 
the river-course was thus arched the water must necessarily 
have been thrown back, and a new channel formed. From that 
period, also, the neighboring plain must have lost its fertilizing 
stream, and become a desert."* 

The inference here deduced is, that the rising took place at 
a period when the district was inhabited and cultivated by men. 

* Darwin s Journal, p. 350 


Of the period of the uplifting between Cavallero and Alcocoto I 
could discern no proofs. But the impression produced by the dry 
river bed involuntarily suggests the idea that, at no very dis 
tant period, it must have been the lodgment of a stream ; for it 
is in all respects similar to the temporary dry river beds so fre 
quently met with on the coast of Peru. 

I made repeated visits to the Rio Seco, and I always contem 
plated with wonder the curious deviation of the river s course. 
But I must candidly confess that during my abode in Peru, I did 
not venture to attribute that deviation to so partial an uplifting ; 
for I was ignorant of the existence of any similar phenomenon 
which would have supported such an opinion. Now, however, 
the example referred to by the eminent English geologist, and 
which has its existence on the same coast of Peru, sets all my 
doubts at rest, and I am quite convinced of the correctness cf 
Mr. Darwin s view of the subject. 

Having made this digression, I must now carry the reader 
back to Cocachacra. Pursuing the road to the distance of three 
leagues further, we arrive at San Geronimo de Surco. The 
valley in this part becomes more contracted ; but on the whole 
its character is unchanged, with the exception that the moun 
tains gradually become higher and steeper, and the soil less fer 
tile. The road frequently runs along lofty walls of rock, or 
winds round sharp projections, which overhang deep chasms, in 
passing which the. greatest precaution is requisite. 

In several of the valleys on the road from the coast to the 
Sierra, and above all in the valley of Surco, there are certain 
springs, the water of which the Indians never drink. When a 
stranger unguardedly approaches one of these springs for the 
purpose of quenching his thirst, he is saluted by warning cries 
of Es agua de Veruga ! (It is veruga water !) Even horses 
and mules are not suffered to refresh the - nselves at these springs, 
where the water is supposed to have the effect of producing a 
disorder called the Verugas. As the existence of this disease 
is not known in any other country, there appears ground for be 
lieving that it has its origin in certain local circumstances. The 
verugas first manifests itself by sore throat, pains in the bones, 
and other feverish symptoms. In the course of a few days an 


eruption of red-colored pimples, or boils, appears. These pim 
ples sometimes increase in magnitude, till, in some parts of the 
body, they become nearly as large as an egg, and blood flows 
from them to such an excess, that the strength of the patient is 
exhausted, and consumption frequently follows. From the small 
verugas the flow of blood is greatest. I knew an instance of a 
half-caste Indian who from a small veruga below the ankle lost 
two pounds of blood. 

I was not able to trace this disease to any other cause than 
that which the Indians assign to it. At all events, it is certain 
that travellers who abstain from drinking the water of the con 
demned springs, escape the verugas ; whilst those who only once 
taste such water, are attacked by the disorder. It is the same 
with mules and horses. One of my mules which drank veruga 
water was attacked by a large tumor on the leg. The disease 
is notoriously prevalent in the village of Santa Olaya. 

The medical treatment of the Verugas by "the Indians is quite 
empirical. They administer to the patient the infusion of a plant 
which they call Huajra-Huajra ; that is, Horn- Horn.* I never 
witnessed any convincing proof of its efficacy. Its operation 
appears to be merely sudorific. A preparation of white maize is 
also frequently given, and it has the effect of assisting the action 
of the skin. When the eruption of the verugas is tardy, a few 
spoonfuls of wine are found to be of great service. Sudorific 
and purifying medicines, together with cutting out the large ve 
rugas, and keeping the wounds for a time in a state of suppura 
tion, have heretofore been found the best mode of treatment. An 
accurate chemical analysis of the water which the Indians de 
clare to be ogua de vcruga, would be very desirable. "j" 

In the Quebrada of Canta, where the verugas arc less com 
mon than in that of Matucanas, another disease, called the Uta, 
is of very frequent occurrence. The uta is a sort of cancer, 
and it is more fearful in its consequences than the verugas. 

* The Spaniards term this plant Una de gato (Cat s-claw), the stalk be 
ing furnished with hooked thorns resembling cla\rs. 

f For further information relative to this disease, see my communication 
to Wunderlich and Roser s "drchivfur Physiologische Heilkunde." 


Probably in no country in the world do so many local diseases 
prevail as in Peru. Every valley has its own peculiar disease, 
which frequently does not extend beyond the boundary of a few 
square miles, and is quite unknown in neighboring districts. 
The origin of these disorders is, doubtless, to be traced to certain 
mineral or vegetable influences as yet unknown. It is remarka 
ble how unequally these baneful visitations affect the different 
races of the inhabitants. The Indians and the lighter classes of 
half-castes are most frequently attacked by the verugas ; the 
whites are less liable to the disease, whilst the negroes and people 
of the darker shades of mixed blood seldom suffer from it. The 
Indians and the Chinos are particularly liable to the uta. The 
caracha, of which I have already spoken,* visits the Negroes, 
the Zamboes, and the Mulattoes ; the lighter-complexioned races 
being much less liable to it. 

At Quibe 1 saw a bird-catching spider (mygale), of extraordi 
nary large size. The back part of the body alone measured two 
inches. Being at some distance I supposed it to be one of the 
rodent animals, and I fired at it. To my mortification I dis 
covered my mistake when too late, for the specimen was com 
pletely destroyed by the shot, and was useless for my collection. 
The Indians assured me that on the margin of the stream which 
flowed near the plantation many larger individuals were to be 
found ; but I never saw another of such remarkable size as the 
one I inadvertently destroyed. 

San Geronimo de Surco is 6945 feet above the level of the sea. 
It is a long village, and is situated in one of the most fertile parts 
of the valley. The houses are detached one from another, and 
each is surrounded by a little chacra. This place may be re 
garded as the boundary-line between the coast and the Sierra. 
The climate is agreeable rather hot than cold. Most of the 
coast plants thrive here with little culture. Bananas, chirimoyas, 
superb granadillas, pomegranates, camotes, &c., grow here in 
luxuriant abundance. Yuccas I did not see : their elevation 
boundary is lower. San Geronimo de Surco is infested with 
swarms of annoying insects, especially sancudos (Culcx molestus, 

* See page 153. 


Kcll.), and stinging flies (species of Simoleum), which banish 
sleep from the resting-place of the weary traveller. 

In this village there is an old Spaniard who keeps a tambo, and 
at the same time exercises the calling of a farrier. One of my 
horse s shoes being loose, I got him to fasten it on. For ham 
mering in eight nails he made me pay half a gold ounce, and at 
first he demanded twelve dollars. He doubtless bore in mind the 
old Spanish proverb : " Por un clavo sepierde una lierradura, por 
una lierradura un cavallo, por un cavallo un cava/lero,"* and he 
felt assured that I must have the damage repaired at any price. 
Shortly after my arrival in the Sierra I got myself initiated in 
the art of horse-shoeing, and constantly carried about with me a 
supply of horse-shoes and nails, a plan which I found was gene 
rally adopted by travellers in those parts. It is only in the 
larger Indian villages that farriers are to be met with, that is to 
say in places fifty or sixty leagues distant from each other. 

From Surco the road runs to the distance of two leagues tole 
rably level, and very close to the river, which, from Cocachacra, 
bears the name of Rio de San Mateo. The next village is San 
Juan de Matucanas, at a little distance from which there is a 
tambo, situated at the height of 8105 feet above the sea.f These 
tambos of the Sierra are wretched places, but the traveller may 
find in them shelter, and possibly some miserable kind of food. 
Even in Lima the tambos are not much better. In the capital a 
tambo affords the traveller the accommodation of a room, con 
taining a table, a chair, and a bedstead : for it is always under, 
stood that he brings his mattress and bedding along with him. 
In the interior of the country the accommodation is limited to an 
empty space on the floor, just large enough to spread a mattress 
upon. Whenever the state of the weather permitted I always 
preferred sleeping in the open air. Even on a rainy night a 
lodging on the outside of the door is preferable to the interior of 
the hut, where Indians, negroes, dogs and pigs are all huddled 

* By a nail is lost a shoe, by a shoe a horse, and by a horse a rider. 

t According to Maclean, the elevation of Mitucanas is S020 feet above the 
level of the sea. I presume that this calculation refers to the village itself, 
which is situated about the eighth of a league from the tambo, and liea 
much lower. 


together. In these tambos there is seldom any scarcity of 
brandy or chicha ; but the hungry traveller sometimes cannot 
get even a potatoe or a bit of maize. Frequently, when the In 
dians really have provisions they will not produce them, because 
they are fearful of not being paid. This suspicion is pardonable 
enough ; for when troops march through the villages the inha 
bitants are often cheated by the officers, and ill-treated into the 
bargain. Generally, in this part of the country, the people are 
civil, and will readily sell provisions if they are paid. Not so 
the Indians of the higher mountains eastward of the Cordillera. 
To the traveller s demand for something to eat, their uniform 
reply is " Manam canchu " (we have nothing) ; and it is often 
found necessary to resort to force in order to convert this mo 
notonous answer into the more agreeable " Ari conclm " (here is 

Matucanas, which is rather a large village, lies on the left 
bank of the Ilimac. The houses are of brick, and roofed with 
straw. The soil round this village is fertile, though not favora 
ble to the growth of those plants which demand a very warm 
temperature. The agricultural produce is therefore limited to 
maize, wheat, lucerne (which is very abundant), and potatoes ; 
the latter are sent in great quantities to the capital. The cactus 
grows on the hills, and its excellent fruit (tunas) forms also an 
article of trade. 

Beyond Matucanas the valley contracts into a narrow ravine 
no broader than the bed of the river, and it gradually assumes a 
wilder character. The way is difficult along the ridge of hills 
which borders the left bank of the river. The vegetation is less 
monotonous and scanty than in the valleys of the coast, and all 
the fissures of the hills are filled with verdure. The stunted 
willow (Salix Hmnboldtii, Wild.) grows along the banks of the 
river, and on the less steep declivities is seen the red thorn-apple 
(Datura sanguinea, R. Pav.). To the latter the natives give the 
names Huacacachu, Yerba de Huaca, or Bovachcvo ; and they 
prepare from its fruit a very powerful narcotic drink, called 
tonga. The Indians believe that by drinking the tonga they are 
brought into communication with the spirits of their forefathers. 
I once had an opportunity of observing an Indian under the influ- 


ence of this drink. Shortly after having swallowed the beverage 
he fell into a heavy stupor : he sat with his eyes vacantly fixed 
on the ground, his mouth convulsively closed, and his nostrils 
dilated. In the course of about a quarter of an hour his eyes 
began to roll, foam issued from his half-opened lips, and his 
whole body was agitated by frightful convulsions. These vio 
lent symptoms having subsided, a profound sleep of several hours 
succeeded. In the evening I again saw this Indian. He was 
relating to a circle of attentive listeners the particulars of his 
vision, during which he alleged he had held communication with 
the spirits of his forefathers. He appeared very weak and ex 

In former times the Indian sorcerers, when they pretended to 
transport themselves into the presence of their deities, drank the 
juice of the thorn-apple, in order to work themselves into a state 
of ecstasy. Though the establishment of Christianity has weaned 
the Indians from their idolatry, yet it has not banished their old 
superstitions. They still believe that they can hold communica 
tions with the spirits of their ancestors, and that they can obtain 
from them a clue to the treasures concealed in the huacas, or 
graves ; hence the Indian name of the thorn-apple huacacachu, 
or grave plant. 

A few miles beyond Matucanas there is a lateral valley, 
larger and more pleasant than the principal valley. It is called 
the Quebrada de Viso, and is watered by a little stream. At 
the point where this Quebrada forms a junction with the princi 
pal valley is situated the Tambo de Viso. It is 9100 feet above 
the level of the sea.* At this tambo the traveller may find a 
tolerable night s lodging for himself, and fodder for his horse. 
Here the river is crossed by a bridge, and the road then proceeds 
along the left bank of the river, after having been on the right 
bank all the way from Lima. The bridges across these moun- streams are always constructed at points where the river is 
most contracted by the narrow confines of the ravine. They 
consist merely of a few poles made of the trunk of the Maguay- 
tree (Agave Americana), and connected together by transverse 

* According to Maclean s calculation, the Tambo de Viso is 9072 feel 
above the sea. 


ropes ; the ropes being overlaid with twisted branches and pieces 
of hoops. These bridges are not more than three feet broad, and 
have no balustrades. When the space between the banks of the 
river is too long for the Maguay stems, strong ropes made of 
twisted ox-hides are substituted. In crossing these bridges acci 
dents frequently happen, owing to the hoofs of the horses and 
mules getting entangled in the plaited branches along the path 
way. A little way beyond San Mateo I narrowly escaped being 
precipitated, with my mule, into the rocky chasm forming the bed 
of the river. 

The road between Viso and San Mateo, a distance of anout 
three leagues, is exceedingly difficult and dangerous. The ravine 
becomes narrowed to a mere cleft, between walls of mountain 
rising on either side to the height of more than a thousand feet ; perpendicularly, and at other times inclining inwards, 
so as to form gigantic arches. The path runs along the base of 
these mountains, washed by the foaming waves of the stream ; 
or it winds up the side of the precipice, over huge fragments of 
rock, which, being loosened by the rain, afford no secure footing 
for the heavily laden mules. Frequently these loosened blocks 
give way, and roll down into the valley. The journey from Viso 
to San Mateo is associated in my mind with the recollection of a 
most mortifying accident. A mass of rock, such as I have just 
described, gave way, and rolling down the precipice, hurled one 
of my mules into the foaming abyss. My most valuable instru 
ments, a portion of my collections, my papers, and to me an 
irreparable loss a diary carefully and conscientiously kept for 
the space of fourteen months, were in a moment buried in the 
river. Two days afterward the current washed the dead mule 
ashore at Matucanas, but its load was irrecoverably lost. 

Every year many beasts of burthen, and even travellers, per 
ish on this road. In the Tambo de Viso I met an officer who, 
with two of his sons, was coming from the Sierra. He had placed 
the youngest before him, and the other, a boy of ten years of age, 
was seated on the mule s crupper. When they were within about 
half a league from Viso, a huge mass of rock, rolling down from 
the mountain, struck the elder boy, and hurled him into the river. 


The afflicted father was anxiously seeking to recover the body of 
his lost child. 

San Mateo is on the right bank of the river, and is the largest 
village in this valley. It corresponds in situation with Culluay 
in the Quebrada of Canta ; as Matucanas corresponds with the 
village of Obrajillo. San Mateo is 10,947 feet above the level of 
the sea.* The soil produces abundance of potatoes, Ocas (Oxalis 
tubcrosa) and Ullucas (Tropaolum tuberosum). Maize ripens 
here perfectly, but the heads are small. The lucerne is also 
small, but very abundant ; it is very much exposed to injury 
from the frost, and is only good for use during the five rainy 
months of the year. Five hundred feet higher, that is to say, 
about 11,500 feet above the sea, is the boundary elevation for the 
growth of lucerne. 

The spirit of hospitality, so generally prevalent among the 
Sierra Indians, does not seem to animate the Cholos of San Mateo. 
Their manners are rude and reserved, and they are very distrust 
ful of strangers. As soon as a traveller enters the village, the 
Alcade and the Rejidores make their appearance, and demand 
his passport. If he cannot produce it, he may possibly be put 
upon a donkey, and conducted to the nearest Prefect, or may 
moreover run the risk of being ill-treated. But, fortunately, it is 
easy to escape such annoyances. Any scrap of printed or written 
paper will answer for a passport, as it rarely happens that either 
the Alcade or the Rejidores can read. On one occasion when my 
passport was demanded, I discovered I had lost it. Fortunately, 
I had in my pocket a bit of waste paper, which I had used instead 
of wadding in loading my gun. I ventured at all hazards to hand 
it to the Indian Rejidor, who having unfolded it stared very 
gravely at the words Lucia di Lammermoor, which he saw printed 
in large characters. It was the bill of the opera I had attended a 
few evenings before my departure from Lima. After examining 
the bill very attentively, and then scanning me very narrowly, 
the Rejidor returned the paper, with the observation that the pass 
port was quite correct. 

* Maclean states the elevation to be 10,954 feet above the sea. Rivero 
makes it 9570, and Gay 10,403 fret. Gay s is the only measurement which 
in any manner corresponds with mine und Maclean s. In general Gay s 
calculations are between GOO and SOO feet higher than ours. 


From San Mateo the road runs for half a league through a 
gloomy ravine ; and then suddenly takes a steep ascent up the 
side of the mountain, over fragments of stones, lying one above 
another like flights of steps. The stream dashes from rock to 
rock, covering the narrow path with foam, and washing away 
the blocks of stone which, in some of the most, dangerous parts, 
serve as barriers along the edge of the precipice. On this road 
long trains of mules are frequently met coming from the Sierra. 
The traveller, at their approach, seeks some little recess into 
Which he may creep, and there stand closely jammed against the 
mountain until the train passes by. This is attended by great 
loss of time, owing to the slow and cautious pace at which the 
mules proceed. On such a rencounter in a narrow mountain 
path, I was once obliged to wait for several hours, whilst two 
hundred mules passed by ; and at the spot where I arid my horse 
stood, the laden animals had scarcely space sufficient to set down 
their feet at the very edge of the pathway. In some places it 
is perfectly impossible either to go on one side or to turn back ; 
and when horses or mules meet at these difficult points, one of 
the animals is obliged to plunge into the stream, before the other 
can have room to pass. The numerous curvatures of the road, 
and the projecting masses of mountain, render it impossible to 
see advancing objects in sufficient time to avoid collision. 

After having passed this difficult tract, which is called by the 
natives Cacray, we reach the summit of the acclivity down 
which the mountain stream descends. Here the valley presents 
quite the Sierra character. It is no longer confined within steep 
and rugged mountain walls, but runs in undulating contours along 
the bases of the hills, and gently ascends eastward towards the prin 
cipal chain of the Cordillera. The road is sometimes on the right 
and sometimes on the left bank of the river. Two leagues beyond 
San Mateo lies Chicla, a miserable Indian village, which, according 
to Maclean s calculation, is 12,712 feet above sea level. In some 
of the more sheltered parts barley is planted ; but it does not ripen, 
and is merely used as fodder (Alcazer}. Chicla is the last place 
in this valley where the soil is in any degree capable of cultiva 
tion. Half a league further on, there are a few scattered Indian 
huts, called the village of Acchahuari. One of these huts ia a 


tambo, which can never be forgotten by any unfortunate traveller 
who may have taken up his abode in it. Necessity several 
times compelled me to seek a night s lodging in this horrible 
tambo ; but I never could remain in it till morning ; and even 
amidst snow or rain I have been glad to get out, and take up my 
resting-place on the outside of the door. The hostess is a dirty 
old Indian woman, assisted by her daughter ; and the hut is 
filthy beyond description. For supper, the old woman cooks a 
vile mess called Chupe, consisting of potatoes and water, mixed 
with Spanish pepper but it is so dirtily prepared, that nothing 
but the most deadly hunger would induce any one to taste it. 
The beds consist of sheep-skins spread on the damp floor ; and 
one bedchamber serves for the hostess, her daughter, her grand 
children, and the travellers ; an immense woollen counterpane 
or blanket being spread over the whole party. But woe to the 
unwary traveller who trusts himself in this dormitory ! Fie 
soon finds himself surrounded by enemies from Whose attacks it 
is impossible to escape ; for the hut is infested with vermin. 
Even should he withdraw into a corner, and make a pillow of 
his saddle, the annoyance pursues him. Add to all this a stifling 
smoke, and all sorts of mephitic exhalations, and troops of guinea- 
pigs who run about during the whole night, and gambol over the 
faces and bodies of the sleepers, and it may readily be con 
ceived how anxiously the traveller looks for the dawn of morn 
ing, when he may escape from the horrors of this miserable 
tambo. Acchahuari is 13,056 feet above the sea level. The 
climate is very ungenial. During the winter months, rain and 
snow fall without intermission ; and even during the summer, 
heavy drifts of snow are not unfrequent. From April to July, 
the medium temperature during the night is 4 R. 

After passing Cacray the diminished atmospheric pressure 
begins to produce an effect on coast horses which have not been 
accustomed to travel in the Sierra. They are attacked with a 
malady" called the veta, which shows itself by difficulty of breath 
ing and trembling. The animals are frequently so overpowered 
that they are unable either to move or stand, and if they are not 
immediately unsaddled and allowed to rest they perish. The 
airieros consider bleeding a cure for this malady. They some* 



times slit the horse s nostrils, a remedy which is probahly effica 
cious, as it enables the animal to inhale the air freely. Chopped 
garlic put into the nostrils is supposed to be a preventive of the 
veta. Mules are less liable to the malady probably because 
they ascend the acclivities more slowly than horses. The dis 
ease does not attaok the native horses of the Sierra, for which 
reason they are better than the coast horses for mountain travel 
ling. Mules, however, are preferable to either. It is wonderful 
with what tact and penetration the mule chooses his footing. 
When he doubts the firmness of the ground he passes his muzzle 
over it, or turns up the loose parts with his hoof before he ven 
tures to step forward. When he finds himself getting into soft 
and marshy ground he stands stock still, and refuses to obey 
either stirrup or whip. If by accident he sinks into a morass, 
he makes a halt, and waits very contentedly until he receives 
assistance. But in spite of all this sagacity the traveller will 
not do well to resign himself wholly to the guidance of his mule. 
In ordinary cases these animals allow themselves to be guided, 
and sometimes they appear to think it more safe to trust to the 
bridle than to themselves. One of my mules frequently gave 
me curious proofs of this sort of calculation. When, in very 
difficult parts of the road, I dismounted, in order to walk and 
lead him by the bridle, I found it impossible to get the animal to 
move either by force or persuasion. He spread out his legs, 
fixed his hoofs firmly into the ground, and obstinately resisted all 
my endeavors to make him move. But as soon as I remounted 
he willingly obeyed every movement of the bridle. With this 
mule I could ride through marshes, which I could never do with 
any other. He appeared to reflect that, as I only dismounted 
when the road was unsafe, his life was in no less danger than 

About a league beyond Acchahuari the valley is bounded by 
die principal chain of the Cordillera. The ascent may be gained 
by two different roads. One, the steeper of the two, runs south- 
ward, across the Piedra Parada ; the other, on which the ascent 
is somewhat easier, takes an easterly direction, over Antarangra. 
We will first trace the latter course, which is the most frequented. 
At the extremity of the valley, and twenty-eight leagues from 


the capital, is situated the last village, Cashapalca, 13,236 feet 
above the sea. Its inhabitants are chiefly employed in mining. 
Formerly, vast quantities of silver were obtained here. But 
most of the mines are now either under water or exhausted, and 
the village, with its mine works, has dwindled into insignificance. 
Beyond Cashapalca there is a tract of marshy ground, which 
being passed, a narrow winding road of about two leagues leads 
up the acclivity. The soil is clayey, and thinly bestrewed with 
alpine grass, intermingled with syngenesious and cruciferous 
plants. Two plants which are called by the natives mala yerba 
and garlan zillos, and are a deadly poison to mules and horses, 
grow in great abundance here. The numerous skeletons of 
beasts of burthen seen along the road bear evidence of the fatal 
effects of those plants. Higher up the ascent the vegetation be 
comes more and more scanty, until at length it entirely disappears, 
and nothing is visible but the barren rock of the Sierra highlands. 

The last division of acclivity is called by the natives the Anta- 
rangra (copper rock). On it there is a small heap of stones, which 
I shall describe by and by, and a cross made of the stems of the 
Baccharis. From this point the traveller catches a distant 
glimpse of the heaven-towering summit of the Cordillera. 

I speedily mounted the ascent, and reached the goal of my 
journey. Here I found myself disappointed in the expectation 
I had formed of commanding an uninterrupted view over bound 
less space and distance. The prospect is greatly circumscribed 
by numerous rocky elevations, which spring up in every direction. 
The mountain passes running across the ridge of the Cordillera 
are bounded on all sides by rocks, sometimes not very high, but 
at other times rising to the elevation of 1000 feet. The pass ot 
Antarangra (also called Portachuelo del Tingo, or Pachachaca) 
is 15,600 above the sea.* Nevertheless it is, during a great part 
of the year, free from snow. Scarcely a quarter of a league 
further northward are the eternal glaciers, and they are several 
hundred feet lower than the Pass. That the Pass itself is not 
permanently covered with snow is a circumstance which may 

* Maclean makes it 15,543 feet ; Gay, 15,924 feet ; and Rivero, ouly 14,608 
feet above the level of the sea. 


probably be accounted for by the direction of the atmospheric 
currents. The east winds penetrate into the deep recesses of the 
valleys, which are sheltered against the cold south wind by the 
adjacent mountain ridge. The passes have a gloomy character, 
and the rugged grandeur of the surrounding country presents 
an aspect of chaotic wildness and disorder. The ground is co 
vered with huge masses of rock ; and the ungenial fruitless soil 
is shunned alike by plants and animals. The thin tendrils of a 
lichen, here and there twining on a damp mass of stone, are the 
only traces of life. Yet the remains of human industry and 
activity are everywhere observable. On all sides are seen the 
deep cavities which formed the entrances to the now exhausted 
mines. These cavities are sometimes situated at elevated points 
of the almost inaccessible walls of rock, and are occasionally 
found in the level part of the valley, and close on the roadway. 
Instances have occurred of travellers being killed by falling into 
these holes, when they have been covered by thick falls of snow. 

It is curious to observe, on the Pass of Antarangra, the parti 
tion of the waters flowing into the two great oceans, the Atlantic 
and the Pacific. Scarcely thirty paces distant from each other 
there are two small lagunas. That situated most to the west is 
one of the sources of the Rio de San Mateo, which, under the 
name of the Rimac, falls into the Pacific. The other laguna, 
that to the eastward, sends its waters through a succession of 
small mountain lakes into the Rio de Pachachaca, a small tribu 
tary to the mighty Amazon river. It is amusing to take a cup 
of water from the one laguna and pour it into the other. I could 
not resist indulging this whim ; and in so doing I thought I might 
possibly have sent into the Pacific some drops of the water des 
tined for the Atlantic. But the whim, puerile as it may be, 
nevertheless suggests serious reflections on the mighty power of 
nature, which has thrown up these stupendous mountains from 
the bosom of the earth ; and also on the testaceous animals found 
on these heights, memorials of the time when the ocean flowed 
over their lofty summits. 

From the ridge the road runs eastward along a branch of the 
principal mountain chain. This branch forms the southern 
boundary of a gently-sloping valley. The declivity is terrace- 


formed, and on each terrace there is a small clear lake. This 
series of lakes is called Huascacocha (the chain of lakes). In 
their waters, as in most of the mountain rivers, there is found in 
great numbers a small species of shad-fih (Pygidium dispar, 
Tsch.). They are caught during the nigh: in nets, or by lines, 
to which the bait is fastened by small cactus-thorns. 

The third in the series of the lagunas is called Morococha (the 
colored lake). On its banks some buildings have been con 
structed, for the smelting of copper ore. The mines which 
yield this metal are on the southern declivity, close to the road 
leading down from the Cordillera. Formerly these mines were 
worked for silver, but were not found very productive of that 
metal. Now they are again actively worked, and copper is ob 
tained from them. The working of the Peruvian copper mines 
has hitherto been much neglected, though copper ore is exceed 
ingly abundant. 

The road from Morococha to Pachachaca is very ur. ;form. 
The latter village, which is situated 12,240 feet above the level 
of the sea, was formerly a place of much greater importance 
than it now is. In its neighborhood there are a number of spa 
cious buildings constructed at the time of the unfortunate English 
mining speculation. Most of them are only half finished. At 
the entrance of the village there is a large hacienda. In some 
of the apartments the flooring is of wood ; a thing seldom seen 
in these parts, where the wood for such purposes must be brought 
from the eastern declivity of the Andes : the difficulty and ex 
pense attending this transport are so considerable, that a wooden 
floor is a great rarity in the habitations of the Cordillera. A 
mine belonging to the hacienda is situated five leagues north 
west of Pachachaca, and yields rich silver ore ; but a great part 
of it is at present under water, and its drainage would be a very 
difficult undertaking. 

Returning to the point where the two roads across the Cordil 
lera separate at Cashapalcs, we will now trace the route by way 
of Piedra Parada. This way is shorter than that by Antarangra, 
but the ascents are much steeper. The first objects met with by 
the traveller on this road are some Indian huts, called yauliyacu^ 
and the ruined hacienda of San Rafael. These being passed, 


the ascent continues over broken masses of rock. About 15,200 
feet above the sea there is a huge block of mountain, called the 
Piedra Parada, close against which p chapel was formerly 
erected ; the mountain forming the bacK wall of the structure*. 
Now there is merely an iron cross, fixed on the upper part of the 
block of mountain. On this spot the Archbishop used formerly 
to celebrate mass, when he was on his rounds through the diocese. 
The chapel was destroyed by lightning, and has not been rebuilt. 
The pass of the Piedra Parada is 16,008 feet above the sea, and 
is always covered with snow. Travellers frequently lose their 
way in this pass, an accident which befel me in March, 1842, 
when I was proceeding alone by that route. Being overtaken 
by a violent fall of snow, I could scarcely see a few paces be 
fore me. After wandering about for several hours, my horse 
became weary, and I began to despair of extricating myself from 
the dreary plains of snow. Late in the evening I reached a 
little valley, where, sheltered by some rocks, I passed the night. 
On the following morning I renewed my journey, and after con 
siderable exertion I arrived at an Indian hut, where I obtained 
such directions as enabled me to recover the right course. 

The eastern declivity of the Pass of Piedra Parada is steeper 
than that of Huascacocha. After a difficult ride of about two 
leagues, we reach first the valley, and then the village of Yauli. 
The village lies at the height of 13,100 feet above the sea, and 
consists of about one hundred and fifty miserable huts, affording 
habitations for between twelve and fourteen thousand Indians, 
most of whom are employed in mining. 

The Cordillera, in the neighborhood of Yauli, is exceedingly 
rich in lead ore, containing silver. Within the circuit of a few 
miles, above eight hundred shafts have been made, but they have 
not been found sufficiently productive to encourage extensive 
mining works. The difficulties which impede mine-working in 
these parts are caused chiefly by the dearness of labor and the 
scarcity of fuel. There being a total want of wood, the only 
fuel that can be obtained consists of the dried dung of sheep, 
llamas, and huanacus. This fuel is called taquia. It produces 
a very brisk and intense flame, and most of the mine -owners 
prefer it to coal. The process of smelting, as practised by the 


Indians, though extremely rude and imperfect, is nevertheless 
adapted to local circumstances. All European attempts to im 
prove the system of smelting in these districts have either totally 
failed, or in their results have proved less effective than the sim 
ple Indian method. Complicated furnaces made after European 
models are exceedingly expensive, whilst the natives can con 
struct theirs at the cost of fifty or sixty dollars each. These 
Indian furnaces can, moreover, be easily erected in the vicinity 
of the mines, and when the metal is not very abundant the fur 
naces may be abandoned without any great sacrifice. For the 
price of one European furnace the Indians may build more than 
a dozen, in each of which, notwithstanding the paucity of fuel, 
a considerably greater quantity of metal may be smelted than in 
one of European construction. 

About half a league beyond Yauli there are upwards of twenty 
mineral springs, all situated within a circuit of a quarter of a 
mile. Several of them contain saline properties. One is called 
the Hervidero (the whirlpool). It is in the form of a funnel, and 
at its upper part is between ten and twelve feet diameter. Its 
surface is covered with foam. The temperature of the water is 
only 7 C. higher than the atmosphere. Some of these springs 
are tepid and sulphuric ; and the temperature of one of them is 
as high as 89 C. Near some of the springs quadrangular basins 
have been constructed for baths, which are said to be very effica 
cious in cutaneous and rheumatic complaints. The climate of 
Yauli is exceedingly rigorous. In summer the medium tempera 
ture of the night is 8 C., but the days are mild. In winter, on 
the other hand, the night is -f- 1 C., and the day scarcely -f 3 
J., as the sky is continually overhung with thick clouds, which 
disperse themselves in continual falls of snow. I passed several 
weeks in Yauli and in the wild country around it, and during 
that time I made many valuable additions to my natural history 

The distance between Yauli and Pachachaca is two leagues. 
The road descends gently along the right bank of the Rio de 
Yauli, which forms the principal source of the Rio de Oroya. 
In this direction, as well as in other parts adjacent to Yauli, there 
are numerous remains of mining works, formerly the property of 


Portuguese. These works were destroyed at the time of the per 
secution of the Portuguese in Peru, when the consul, Juan Bau- 
tista, was hanged by the Inquisition, in Lima. Over those events 
there hangs a veil of mystery, which will probably never be re 
moved. The Portuguese were the most powerful and intelligent 
mine-owners in Peru, and their prosperity excited the envy of 
the Spanish viceroy. A number of Portuguese emigrants, who 
came from Brazil, to settle in the Peruvian province of Maynas, 
furni jhed the viceroy with a ground of complaint, real or pre 
tended. He set forth that the Portuguese of the eastern parts of 
South America intended to make themselves masters of Peru, 
and conjointly with the Inquisition he commenced coercive mea 
sures against them. Their consul was accused of heresy, con 
demned and hanged, and the emigrants were pursued and put to 
death. Some of them escaped into the forests, where they were 
massacred by the Indians, and only a very few succeeded in 
getting back to Brazil. Many of the wealthy Portuguese mine- 
owners, seeing the danger that threatened them, sank their vast 
treasures in lakes, or buried them in retired places in the plains. 
These treasures consisted chiefly of smelted ore and silver coin, 
and only a very small portion was afterwards discovered. Thus 
were these active and intelligent mine-owners sacrificed, cither 
to a chimerical and unfounded suspicion, or to a feeling of ava 
rice, which, after all, failed in attaining its object. The conse 
quences were disastrous to the country. Peruvian mining has 
never recovered the prosperity which it enjoyed under the ma 
nagement of the Portuguese. 

Between Yauli and Pachachaca the way is difficult, and with 
out an accurate knowledge of the route, the traveller is likely to 
lose his way, and may even incur the danger of sinking in the 
marshes which spread along the bank of the river. From Pa 
chachaca a broad and gentle sloping valley conducts to La 
Oroya, a distance of about three leagues. In the range of moun 
tains forming the southern boundary of this valley, the river 
winds its way through deep ravines. About half a league from 
Pachachaca there is a ford where the road divides ; one division 
passing over the steep mountains of Yanaclara to Jauja, and the 
other running into the wild valleys of Huayhuay. Midway 


between Pachachaca and La Oroya there is a small, miserable 
Indian village called Saco, which is seldom visited by travellers, 
as it is difficult to procure in it the commonest necessaries of 
food. In this place there is a natural bridge across the river, 
which has worked out a bed for itself beneath the rocks. At 
several points along the course of this river I observed similar 
bridges of rock, but this one only is passable for horses. 

La Oroya lies on the left bank of the river of that name, and 
communicates with the right bank by means of a large hanging 
bridge (Puente de Soga). These bridges are composed of four 
ropes (sogas) made of twisted cow-hide, and about the thickness 
of a man s arm. The four ropes are connected together by thin 
ner ones of the same material, fastened over them transversely. 
The whole is covered with branches, straw, and roots of the 
Agave tree. On either side, a rope rather more than two feet 
above the bridge serves as a balustrade. The sogas are fastened 
on each bank of the river by piles, or riveted into the rock. 
During the long continuous rains these bridges become loose and 
require to be tightened ; but they are always lower in the middle 
than at the ends, and when passengers are crossing them they 
swing like hammocks. It requires some practice, and a very 
steady head, to go over the soga bridges unaccompanied by a 
Puentero.* However strongly made, they are not durable ; for 
the changeableness of the weather quickly rots the ropes, which 
are made of untanned leather. They frequently require repair 
ing, and travellers have sometimes no alternative but to wait for 
several days until a bridge is passable, or to make a circuit of 
20 or .30 leagues. The Puente de Soga of Oroya is fifty yards 
long, and one and a half broad. It is one of the largest in Peru ; 
but the bridge across the Apurimac, in the province of Ayacucho, 
is nearly twice as long, and it is carried over a much deeper 

Another curious kind of bridge is that called the Huaro. It 
consists of a thick rope extending over a river or across a rocky 
chasm. To this rope are affixed a roller, and a strong piece of 

* The Puenteros (Bridge Guides) are Indians who assist travellers in 
crossing these dangerous bridges 


wood formed like a yoke, and by means of two smaller ropes, 
this yoke is drawn along the thick rope which forms the bridge* 
The passenger who has to cross the Huaro is tied to the yoke, 
and grasps it firmly with both hands. His feet, which are cross 
ed one over the other, rest on the thick rope, and the head is held 
as erectly as possible. All these preliminaries being completed, 
an Indian, stationed on the opposite side of the river or chasm, 
draws the passenger across the Huaro. This is altogether the 
most disagreeable and dangerous mode of conveyance that can 
possibly be conceived. If the rope breaks, an accident of no un- 
frequent occurrence, the hapless traveller has no chance of es 
caping with life, for being fastened, he can make no effort to save 
himself. Horses and mules are driven by the Indians into the 
river, and are made to swim across it, in doing which they fre 
quently perish, especially when being exhausted by a long jour 
ney, they have not strength to contend against the force of the 

The village of Oroya, about a quarter of a mile from the 
bridge, is built on a declivity, and according to Maclean s calcu 
lation is 12.010 feet above the level of the sea. It contains fifty- 
one miserable huts, which are the habitations of about two hun 
dred Indians. From Oroya several roads branch off into the 
different mountain districts. The most frequented is that over 
the level height of Cachi-Cachi to Jauja. Along this road there are 
extensive tracts of ground covered with calcareous petrifactions. 
Another road leading to Tarma passes by the ancient Inca for 
tress Huichay. A third, and much frequented road is that by 
way of Huaypacha, and from thence to Junin and Cerro de 



The Cordillera and the Andes Signification of the terms Altitude of the 
Mountains and Passes Lakes Metals Aspect of the Cordillera Shat 
tered Rocks Maladies caused by the diminished Atmospheric Pressure 
The Veta and the Surumpe Mountain Storms The Condor Its 
habits Indian mode of Catching the Bird The Puna or Despoblado 
Climate Currents of Warm Air Vegetation Tuberous Plant called 
the Maca Animals of the Puna The Llama, the Alpaco, the Huanacu 
and the Vicuna The Chacu and the Bolas Household Utensils of the 
Ancient Peruvians The Viscacha and the Chinchilla Puna Birds arid 
Amphibia Cattle and Pasture Indian Farms Shepherds Huts An 
cient Peruvian Roads and Buildings Treasure concealed by the Indians 
in the Puna. 

Two great mountain chains, running parallel with each other, 
intersect Peru in the direction from S.S.W. to N.N.E. The 
chain nearest the coast of the Pacific is at the average distance 
of from sixty to seventy English miles from the sea. The other 
chain takes a parallel direction but describes throughout its whole 
course a slight curve eastward. These two ranges of^mountain 
are called the Cordilleras, or the Andes : both terms being used 
indiscriminately. Even the Creoles of Peru confound these two 
terms, sometimes calling the western chain by one name, and 
sometimes by the other. Nevertheless, a strict distinction ought 
to be observed : the western chain should properly be called 
the Cordillera, and me eastern chain the Andes. The latter 
name is derived from the Quichua word Antasuyu ; Anta signi 
fying metal generally, but especially copper, and Suyu a district ; 
the meaning of Antasuyu, therefore, is the metal district. In 
common parlance, the word Suyu was dropped, and the termina 
tion a in Anta was converted into is. Hence the word Antis, 
which is employed by all old writers and geographers ; and even 
now is in common use among the Indian population of Southora 


Peru. The Spaniards, according to their practice of corrupting 
the words of the Quichua language, have transformed Antis into 
Andes, and they apply the name without distinction to the western 
and the eastern chain of mountains.* 

The old inhabitants of Peru dwelt chiefly along the base of 
the eastern mountain chain, where they drew from the mines 
the metal which afforded material for their tasteful and ingenious 
workmanship : those mountains consequently retained the name 
of Antis or Andes. In the time of the Incas, both chains were 
called Ritisuyu (Snow-Districts). The Spaniards, on the inva 
sion of the country, advancing from the sea-coast, first arrived 
at the western mountains, and to them they gave the name of 
Cordillera, the term commonly employed in the Spanish lan 
guage, to designate any mountain chain. Most of the earlier tra 
vellers and topographists named the western chain the Cordillera 
de los Andes, and regarded it as the principal chain, of which 
they considered the eastern mountains to be merely a branch. 
To the eastern range of mountains they gave the name of Cor 
dillera Oriental. I will here strictly observe the correct de 
nominations, calling the western chain the Cordillera, or the 
coast mountains j and the eastern chain the Andes, or the inner 

These two great mountain chains stand in respect to height 
in an inverse relation one to the other ; that is to say, the greater 
the elevation of the Cordillera, the more considerable is the de 
pression of the Andes. In South Peru the ridge of the Cordillera 
is considerably lower than that portion of the Andes which 
stretches through Bolivia. The medium height of the Cordillera 
in South Peru is 15,000 feet above the sea ; but here and there 
particular points rise to a much more considerable elevation. 
The medium height of the Andes is 17,000 feet above the sea. 
In central Peru the Cordillera is higher than the Andes. There 
the altitude of the latter along the body of the chain is 13,000 
feet above the sea : on the ridge there are a few points some 

* Some derive the word Andes from the people called Antis, who dwelt 
at the foot of these chains of mountains. A province in the department of 
CuzcOj which was probably the chief settlement of that nation, still bears 
the name of Antas. 


hundred feet higher. Between Pasco and Loxas the average 
height of the Cordillera is between 11,000 and 12,000 feet above 
the sea ; and the average elevation of the Andes at the corre 
sponding point is about 2000 feet lower. 

The passes do not run through valleys, but always over the 
ridges of the mountains. The highest mountain passes are the 
Rinconada (16,452 feet above the sea); the Piedra Parada 
(16,008 feet) ; the Tingo (15,600 feet); the Huatillas (14,850 
feet); the Portachuelo de la Viuda (14,544 feet); the Altos de 
Toledo (15,530 feet) ; and the Altos de los Huesos (14,300 feet). 
In both chains there are innumerable small lakes; these are 
met with in all the mountain passes, and most of them are the 
sources of small rivers. 

Both the mountain chains, as well as their lateral branches, are 
rich in metallic produce ; but in the principal mountains gold is 
rare. Some rich mines on the coast, and in the province of 
Arequipa, are now nearly exhausted. Wash gold is plentiful in 
the rivers of North Peru, but it is not carefully collected. Silver, 
which constitutes the principal wealth of Peru, is found in greatest 
abundance in the principal chains, viz., in Northern and Central 
Peru, in the Cordillera ; and in Southern Peru in the Andes. It 
presents itself in all forms and combinations, from the pure metal 
to the lead-ore mixed with silver. Even in the highest elevations, 
in parts scarcely trodden by human footsteps, rich veins of silver 
are discovered. It is scarcely possible to pass half a day in these 
regions without encountering new streaks. Quicksilver is like 
wise found, but in such small quantities, that the gain does not 
pay the labor of the miners. The only quicksilver vein of any 
magnitude is at Huancavelica. Both mountain chains are very 
rich in copper-ore ; but it is extracted only from the Cordillera, 
for the distance of the Andes from the coast renders the trans 
port too expensive. The lead and iron mines, though amazingly 
prolific, are not worked ; the price of the metal being too low to 
pay the labor. 

The Cordillera presents an aspect totally different from that of 
the Andes. It is more wild and rugged, its ridge is broader, and 
its summits less pyramidical. The summits of the Andes ter 
minate in slender sharp points like needles. The Cordillera 


descends in terraces to the level heights, whilst the slope of the 
Andes is uniform and unbroken. The summits of the calcareous 
hills which stretch eastward from the great chain of the Cordillera 
are broken and rugged. Large cubical blocks of stone become 
detached from them, and roll down into the valleys. In the 
Quebrada of Huari near Yanaclara, which is 13,000 feet above 
the sea, I collected among other fragments of rock some of a 
species which is found at Neufchatel in Switzerland. This dis 
integration, which is the effect of protracted rain and cold, imparts 
to the mountain ridges the most singular and beautiful forms ; 
their fantastic outlines appearing like the work of human hands. 
Imagination may easily picture them to be monuments of the 
time of the Incas ; for viewed from a distance, they look like 
groups of giants or colossal animals. In former times the Indians 
viewed these masses of rock with devout reverence, for they 
believed them to be the early inhabitants of the earth whom 
Pacchacamac in his anger transformed to stone. I may here 
notice some very curious forms of rock which have long been a 
subject of controversy among Peruvian travellers. On the road 
leading from Ayacucho to Huancavelica, on the level height of 
Paucara, about a league beyond the village of Parcos, there is a 
considerable number of sand-stone pyramids from eight to twenty, 
two feet high. They are of a reddish-white color ; but in many 
places the inclemency of the weather has overspread them with 
a blackish crust. They are detached one from another. Ulloa, 
in his Noticias Americanas, after fully describing these pyramids, 
declares himself doubtful whether they are the work of man or 
of nature. He inclines to regard them as human creations, and 
suggests that they may possibly have been the tombs of distin 
guished curacas and caciques ; but he admits that he is not 
acquainted with any similar monuments in Peru. As each 
pyramid consists of only one block of stone, and all are very 
regularly shaped, Ulloa is not indisposed to believe that the 
Indians possessed the secret art of melting stone. These blocks 
are, however, of sand-stone, and their fractures are the result of 
the inclemency of the weather. They are all pyramidal-shaped, 
and tolerably equal in size. In several of them the points are as 
sharp and regular as though they had been wrought by the chisel 


of the sculptor. These curious pyramids cover the plateau along 
a distance of more than two miles : sometimes standing closely 
together, and sometimes at considerable distances apart. The 
whole line of chalk and slate mountains extending from Ayacucho 
to Huancavelica is shattered, and presents similar, though less 
regular detritus. 

I have, in my last chapter, observed that the Cordillera is the 
point of partition between the waters of the Pacific and the 
Atlantic Oceans. All the waters of the eastern declivity of the 
Cordillera all those which have their source on the level heights 
and on the western declivity of the Andes, flow from thence in 
the direction of the east, and work their way through the eastern 
mountain chain. Throughout the whole extent of South America 
there is not a single instance of the Cordillera being intersected 
by a river ; a fact the more remarkable because in Southern 
Peru and Bolivia, the coast chain is lower than the Andes. This 
interesting phenomenon, though it has deeply engaged the atten 
tion of geologists, has not yet been satisfactorily explained. I 
concur in the view taken by Mr. Darwin, who observes that it 
would be too rash to assign to the eastern chain of Bolivia and 
Central Chile, a later origin than the western ckain (the nearest 
the Pacific), but that the circumstance of the rivers of a lower 
mountain chain having forced their way through a higher chain 
seems, without this supposition, to be enigmatical. Mr. Darwin 
is of opinion that the phenomenon is assignable to a periodical 
and gradual elevation of the second mountain line (the Andes) ; 
for a chain of islets would at first appear, and as these were lifted 
up, the tides would be always wearing deeper and broader chan 
nels between them. 

In the heights of the Cordillera the effect of the diminished 
atmospheric pressure on the human frame shows itself in in 
tolerable symptoms of weariness and an extreme difficulty of 
breathing. The natives call this malady the Puna or the Soroche ; 
and the Spanish Creoles give it the names of Mareo or Veta. 
Ignorant of its real causes they ascribe it to the exhalations of 
metals, especially antimony, which is extensively used in the 
mining operations. The first symptoms of the veta are usually 
felt at the elevation of 12,600 feet above the sea. These symp- 


toms are vertigo, dimness of sight and hearing, pains in the head 
and nausea. Blood flows from the eyes, nose, and lips. Faint 
ing fits, spitting of blood, and other dangerous symptoms, usually 
attend severe attacks of veta. The sensations which accompany 
this malady somewhat resemble those of sea-sickness, and hence 
its Spanish name mareo. But sea-sickness is unaccompanied by 
the distressing difficulty of breathing experienced in the veta, 
This disorder sometimes proves fatal, and I once witnessed a 
case in which death was the result. Inhabitants of the coast and 
Europeans, who for the first tiirie visit the lofty regions of the 
Cordillera, are usually attacked with this disorder. Persons in 
good health and of a spare habit speedily recover from it, but on 
plethoric and stout individuals its effects are frequently very 
severe. After an abode of some time in the mountainous regions, 
the constitution becomes inured to the rarefied atmosphere. I 
suffered only two attacks of the veta ; but they were very severe. 
The first was on one of the level heights ; and the second on the 
mountain of Antaichahua. The first time I ascended the Cor 
dillera I did not experience the slightest illness, and I congra 
tulated myself on having escaped the veta ; but a year afterwards 
I had an attack of it, though only of a few hours duration. The 
veta is felt with great severity in some districts of the Cordillera, 
whilst in others, where the altitude is greater, the disorder is 
scarcely perceptible. Thus it would seem that the malady is 
not caused by diminished atmospheric pressure, but is dependent 
on some unknown climatic circumstances. The districts in which 
the veta prevails with greatest intensity are, for the most part, 
rich in the production of metals, a circumstance which has given 
rise to the idea that it is caused by metallic exhalations. 

I have already described the effect of the Puna climate on 
beasts of burthen. Its influence on some of the domestic animals 
is no less severe than on the human race. To cats, it is very 
fatal, and at the elevation of 13,000 feet above the sea those ani 
mals cannot live. Numerous trials have been made to rear them 
in the villages of the upper mountains, but without effect ; for 
after a few days abode in those regions, the animals die in 
frightful convulsions ; but when in this state they do not attempt 
to bite. I had two good opportunities of obsei ving the disease at 


Yauli. Cats attacked in this way are called, by the natives, 
azorochados, and antimony is alleged to be the cause of the dis 
temper. Dogs are also liable to it, but it visits them less severely 
than cats, and with care they may be recovered. 

Another scourge of the traveller in the Cordillera, is the dis. 
ease called the Surumpe. It is a violent inflammation of the eyes, 
caused by the sudden reflection of the bright rays of the sun on 
the snow. By the rarefied air and the cutting wind, the eyes, 
being kept in a constant state of irritation, are thereby rendered 
very susceptible to the effects of the glaring light. In these 
regions the sky is often for a time completely overshadowed by 
snow clouds, and the greenish yellow of the plain is soon covered 
by a sheet of snow : then suddenly the sun s rays burst through 
the breaking clouds, and the eyes, unprepared for the dazzling 
glare, are almost blinded. A sharp burning pain is immediately 
felt, and it speedily increases to an intolerable degree. The eyes 
become violently inflamed, and the lids swell and bleed. The 
pain of the surumpe is the most intense that can be imagined, 
and frequently brings on delirium. The sensation resembles 
that which it may be imagined would be felt if cayenne pepper 
or gunpowder were rubbed into the eyes. Chronic inflammation, 
swenllig of the eyelids, dimness of sight, and even total blindness 
are the frequent consequences of the surumpe. In the Cordillera, 
Indians are often seen sitting by the road-side shrieking in agony, 
and unable to proceed on their way. They are more liable to 
the disease than the Creoles, who, when travelling in the moun 
tains, protect their eyes by green spectacles and veils. 

Heavy falls of snow in the Cordillera are usually accompanied 
by thunder and lightning. During five months of the year, from 
November to March, storms are of daily occurrence. They 
begin, with singular regularity, about three o clock in the after 
noon, and continue until five or half-past five in the evening. 
After that time storms of thunder and lightning never occur ; 
but the falls of snow sometimes continue till midnight. As 
evening approaches, cold mists are drifted from the mountain- 
tops down upon the plains ; but they are dispersed by the rays 
of the morning sun, which in a few hours melt the snow. The 
furious tempests in these regions exceed any idea that can be 


formed of them, and can only be conceived by those who nave 
witnessed them. Some of these mountain districts have acquired 
an ominous character for storms ; Antaichahua is one of the 
places to which this sort of fearful celebrity belongs. For hours 
together flash follows flash, painting blood-red cataracts on the 
naked precipices. The forked lightning darts its zig-zag flashes 
on the mountain-tops, or, running along the ground, imprints 
deep furrows in its course ; whilst the atmosphere quivers amidst 
uninterrupte-d peals of thunder, repeated a thousandfold by the 
mountain echoes. The traveller, overtaken by these terrific 
storms, dismounts from his trembling horse, and takes ^efuge 
beneath the shelter of some overhanging rock. 

In these sterile heights, Nature withholds her fostering influ 
ence alike from vegetable and animal life. The scantiest vege 
tation can scarcely draw nutriment from the ungenial soil, and 
animals shun the dreary and shelterless wilds. The condor 
alone finds itself in its native element amidst these mountain 
deserts. On the inaccessible summits of the Cordillera that bird 
builds its nest, and hatches its young in the months of April and 
May. Few animals have attained so universal a celebrity as 
the condor. That bird was known in Europe, at a period when 
his native land was numbered among those fabulous regions which 
are regarded as the scen3s of imaginary wonders. The most 
extravagant accounts of the condor were written and read, and 
general credence was granted to every story which travellers 
brought from the fairy land of gold and silver. It was only at 
the commencement of the present century that Humboldt over 
threw the extravagant notions that previously prevailed respect 
ing the size, strength, and habits of that extraordinary bird. 

The full-grown condor measures, from the point of the beak 
to the end of the tail, from four feet ten inches to five feet ; and 
from the tip of one wing to the other, from twelve to thirteen 
feet. This bird feeds chiefly on carrion : it is only when im 
pelled by hunger that he seizes living animals, and even then 
only the small and defenceless, such as the young of sheep, 
vicunas, and llamas. He cannot raise great weights with his 
feet, which, however, he uses to aid the power of his beak. The 
principal strength of the condor lies in his neck and in his feet ; 


yet he cannot, when flying, carry a weight exceeding eight or 
ten pounds. All accounts of sheep and calves being carried off 
by condors are mere exaggerations. This bird passes a great 
part of the day in sleep, and hovers in quest of prey chiefly in 
the morning and evening. Whilst soaring a-i a height beyond 
the reach of human eyes, the sharp-sighted condor discerns his 
prey on the level heights beneath him, and darts down upon it 
with the swiftness of lightning. When a bait is laid, it is cu 
rious to observe the numbers of condors which assemble in a 
quarter of an hour, in a spot near which not one had been pre 
viously visible. These birds possess the senses of sight ana 
smell in a singularly powerful degree. 

Some old travellers, Ulloa among others, have affirmed that the 
plumage of the condor is invulnerable to a musket-ball. This 
absurdity is scarcely worthy of contradiction ; but it is never 
theless true that the bird has a singular tenacity of life, and that 
it is seldom killed by fire-arms, unless when shot in some vital 
part. Its plumage, particularly on the wings, is very strong and 
thick. The natives, therefore, seldom attempt to shoot the con- 
dor : they usually catch him by traps or by the laso, or kill him 
by stones flung from slings, or by the Bolas. A curious method 
of capturing the condor alive is practised in the province of 
Abancay. A fresh cow-hide, with some fragments of flesh ad 
hering to it, is spread out on one of the level heights, and an 
Indian provided with ropes creeps beneath it, whilst some others 
station themselves in ambush near the spot, ready to assist him. 
Presently a condor, attracted by the smell of flesh, darts down 
upon the cow-hide, and then the Indian, who is concealed under 
it, seizes the bird by the legs, and binds them fast in the skin, as 
if in a bag. The captured condor flaps his wings, and makes 
ineffectual attempts to fly ; but he is speedily secured, and car 
ried in triumph to the nearest village. 

The Indians quote numerous instances of young children hav 
ing been attacked by condors. That those birds are sometimes 
extremely fierce is very certain. The following occurrence 
came within my own knowledge, whilst I was in Lima. I had 
a condor, which, when he first came into my possession, was 
very 5 oung. To prevent his escape, as soon as he was able to 


fly, he was fastened by the leg to a chain, to which was attached 
a piece of iron of about six pounds weight. He had a large 
court to range in, and he dragged the piece of iron about after 
him all day. When he was a year and a half old he flew away, 
with the chain and iron attached to his leg, and perched on the 
spire of the church of Santo Tomas, whence he was scared away 
by the carrion haw r ks. On alighting in the street, a Negro at 
tempted to catch him for the purpose of bringing him home ; 
upon which he seized the poor creature by the ear, and tore it 
completely off. He then attacked a child in the street (a negro 
boy of three years old), threw him on the ground, and knocked 
him on the head so severely with his beak, that the child died in 
consequence of the injuries. I hoped to have brought this bird 
alive to Europe ; but, after being at sea two months on our home 
ward voyage, he died on board the ship in the latitude of Monte 

Between the Cordillera and the Andes, at the height of 12,000 
feet above the sea, there are vast tracts of uninhabited table 
lands. These are called in the Quichua language the Puna ; 
and the Spaniards give them the name of the Despoblado (the 
uninhabited). These table-lands form the upper mountain regions 
of the South American Highlands. They spread over the whole 
extent of Peru, from north-west to south-east, a distance of 350 
Spanish miles, continuing through Bolivia, and gradually running 
eastward into the Argentine Republic. With reference to geo 
graphy and natural history, these table-lands present a curious 
contrast to the Llanos (plains) of South America, situated on the 
other side of the Andes to the north-east. Those boundless de 
serts, full of organic life, are, like the Puna, among the most 
interesting characteristics of the New World. 

The climate of these regions is not less rigorous than that of 
the high mountain ridges. Cold winds from the west and south 
west, blow nearly all the year round from the ice-topped Cor- 
dillera ; and for the space of four months these winds are daily 
accompanied by thunder, lightning, and snow-storms. The 
average state of the thermometer dm ing the cold season (which 
is called summer, because it then seldom snows) is, during 
the night, 5 R. ; and at midday, -f 9 T R. In winter 


the mercury seldom falls during the night below freezing point, 
and it continues between -f- 1 and II. ; but at noon it ascends 
onty to 7 R. It is, however, quite impossible to determine with 
precision the medium temperature of these regions. For the 
space of a few hours the heat will frequently vary between 18 
and 20 R. The transition is the more sensibly felt on the fall 
of the temperature, as it is usually accompanied by sharp-biting 
winds, so keen, that they cut the skin on the face and hands. A 
remarkable effect of the Puna wind is its power of speedily dry. 
ing animal bodies, and thereby preventing putridity. A dead 
mule is, in the course of a few days, converted into a mummy ; 
not even the entrails presenting the least trace of decomposition. 

It frequently happens that, after being long exposed to these 
cold winds, the traveller enters warm atmospheric currents. 
These warm streams are sometimes only two or three paces, and 
at other times, several hundred feet broad. They run in a paral 
lel direction with each other, and one may pass through five or 
six of them in the course of a few hours. On the level heights 
between Chacapalpa and Huancavelica, I remarked that they 
were especially frequent during the months of August and Sep 
tember. According to my repeated observations, I found that 
these warm streams chiefly follow the direction of the Cordillera ; 
namely, from S.S.W. to N.N.E. I once travelled the distance 
of several leagues through a succession of these currents of warm 
air, none of which exceeded seven-and-t\venty paces in breadth. 
Their temperature was 11 R. higher than that of the adjocent 
atmosphere. It would appear they are not merely temporary, 
for the mule-drivers can often foretel with tolerable accuracy 
where they will be encountered. The causes of these pheno 
mena well merit the investigation of meteorologists. 

The aspect of the Puna is singularly monotonous and dreary. 
The expansive levels are scantily covered with grasses of a yel 
lowish-brown hue, and are never enlivened by fresh-looking 
verdure. Here ard there, at distant intervals, may be seen a 
few stunted Quenua trees (Polylepis racemosa, R. P.), or large 
patches of ground covered with the Ratanhia shrub* (Krameria 

*From the most remote times the Ratanhia has been employed by the 


triandria, R. P.). Both are used by the Indians as fuel, and for 
roofing their huts. 

The cold climate and sterile soil of the Puna are formidable 
impediments to agriculture. Only one plant is cultivated in 
these regions with any degree of success. It is the maca, a 
tuberous root grown like the potatoe, and like it used as an arti 
cle of food. In many of the Puna districts the maca constitutes 
the principal sustenance of the inhabitants. It has an agreeable, 
and somewhat sweetish flavor, and when boiled in milk it tastes 
like the chestnut. As far as I am aware this plant has not been 
mentioned by any traveller, nor has its botanical character yet 
been precisely determined. Possibly it is a species of Tropce 
olum, but of this I am uncertain. The root is about the size of 
a large chestnut. Macas may be kept for more than a year, if, 
after being taken from the earth, they are left a few days to 
dry in the sun, and then exposed to the cold. By this means 
they become shrivelled and very hard. From these dried macas, 
the Indians prepare a sort of soup or rather syrup, which dif 
fuses a sweet, sickly sort of odor, but which, when eaten with 
roasted maize, is not altogether unpalatable. The maca thrive? 
best at the height of between 12,000 and 13,000 feet above the 
sea. In the lower districts it is not planted, for the Indians de 
clare it to be flavorless when grown there. Besides the maca 
barley is reared in the Puna. I saw there fields of barley 
13,200 feet above the sea. It does not, however, attain full 
maturity, seldom even shoots into ears, and is cut whilst green as 
fodder for horses. 

But poor and scanty as is the vegetation of the Puna, the ani 
mal kingdom is there richly and beautifully represented. Those 
regions are ihe native home of the great Mammalia, which Peru 
possessed before horses and black cattle were introduced by the 

Indians as a medicine. It is one of their favorite remedies against spitting 
of blood and dysentery. Most of the Ratanhia exported to Europe is ob 
tained in the southern provinces of Peru, particularly in Arica and Islay. 
The extract which is prepared in Peru, and which was formerly sent in 
large quantities to Europe, is now scarcely an object of traffic. For seve 
ral years past no Ratanhia has been shipped from Callao. and but very little 
from Truxiilo. 


Spaniards. I allude to the llama and his co-genera the alpnco, 
the huanacu, and the vicuna. On these interesting animals I 
will subjoin a few observations.* The two first are kept as do 
mestic animals ; the llama perfectly, and the alpaco partially 

The llama measures from the sole of the hoof to the top of the 
head, 4 feeUG to 8 inches ; from the sole of the hoof to the shoul 
ders, from 2 feet 11 inches to 3 feet. The female is usually 
smaller and less strong than the maJe. but her wool is finer and 
better. The color is very various ; generally brown, with 
shades of yellow or black ; frequently speckled, but very rarely 
quite white or black. The speckled brown llama is in some dis 
tricts called the moromoro. 

The young llamas are left with the dam for about the space 
of a year, after which time they are removed and placed with 
flocks. When about four years old, the males and females are 
separated ; the former are trained to carry burthens, and the 
latter are kept in the pastures of the level heights. Most of the 
flocks of llamas are reared in the southern Puna provinces, viz. : 
Cuzco and Ayacucho, and from thence they are sent to the 
silver mines of North Peru. The price of a strong full-grown 
llama is from three to four dollars ; but if purchased in flocks in 
the provinces above named, they may be had for one and a half 
or two dollars each. Shortly after the conquest the price of one 
of these animals was between eighteen arid twenty ducats ; but 
the increase of horses, mules, and sheep, lowered their value. 
The burthen carried by the llama should not exceed one hundred 
and twenty-five pounds, and the animal is seldom laden with 
more than a hundred-weight. When the llama finds his burthen 
too heavy he lies down, and cannot be made to rise until some 
portion of the weight is removed from his back. In the silver 
mines the llamas are of the most important utility, as they fre 
quently carry the metal from the mines in places where the le- 

*More ^ngfhened information respecting *tttem muy be found in the 
" Fauna "Peruana." I have there nMeM all their specific varieties, and 
have corrected the erroneous accounts given of them by some previous 


clivities are so steep that neither asses nor mules can keep their 

The Indians frequently proceed with large flocks of llamas to 
the coast, to procure salt. Their daily journeys are short, never 
exceeding three or four leagues ; for the animals will not feed 
during the night, and therefore they are allowed to graze as 
they go, or to halt for a few hours at feeding-time. When rest- 
ing they make a peculiar humming noise, which, when proceed 
ing from a numerous flock at a distance, is like a number of 
jEolian harps sounding in concert. 

A flock of laden llamas journeying over the table-lands is a 
beautiful sight. They proceed at a slow and measured pace, 
gazing eagerly around on every side. When any strange object 
scares them, the flock separates, and disperses in various direc 
tions, and the arrieros have no little difficulty in reassembling 
them. The Indians are very fond of these animals. They 
adorn them by tying bows of ribbon to their ears, and hanging 
bells round their necks ; and before loading, they always fondle 
and caress them affectionately. If, during a journey, one of the 
llamas is fatigued and lies down, the arriero kneels beside the 
animal, and addresses to it the most coaxing and endearing ex 
pressions. But notwithstanding all the care and attention be 
stowed on them, many llamas perish on every journey to the 
coast, as they are not able to bear the warm climate. 

Some old travellers have stated that the Indians employ the 
llama for riding and for draught ; but these accounts are quite 
erroneous. It sometimes happens that when crossing a river an 
Indian lad, to avoid getting wet, may mount on the back of one 
of the llamas ; but in such a case, he immediately dismounts or. 
reaching the opposite bank. The flesh of the llama is spongy, 
and not agreeable in flavor. Its wool is used for making coarse 

The alpaco, or paco, is smaller than the llama. It measures 
from the lower part of the hoof to the top of the head only three 
feet three inches, and to the shoulders two feet and a half. In 
form it resembles the sheep, but it has a longer neck and a more 
elegant head. The fleece of this animal is beautifully soft and 
very long ; in some parts it is four or five inches in length. Its 


color is usually either white or black ; but in some few instances 
it is speckled. The Indians make blankets and ponchos of the 
alpaco wool. It is also frequently exported to Europe, and it 
sells a! a good price in England. The alpacos are kept in large 
flocks, and throughout the whole of the year they graze on the 
level heights. At shearing time only they are driven to the huts. 
They are in consequence very shy, and they run away at the 
approach of a stranger. The obstinacy of the alpaco is remark 
able. When one of these animals is separated from the flock, 
he throws himself on the ground, arid neither force nor per 
suasion will induce him to rise ; sometimes suffering the 
severest punishment rather than go the way the driver wishes. 
Few animals seem to require so imperatively the companionship 
of its own species, and it is only when brought to the Indian 
huts very young, that the alpacos can be separated from their 

The largest animal of this family is the huanacu. It mea 
sures five feet from the bottom of the hoof to the top of the head, 
and three feet three inches to the shoulders. In form it so nearly 
resembles the llama, that until a very recent period, zoologists 
were of opinion that the llama was an improved species of the 
huanacu, and that the latter was the llama in its wild state. In 
the " Fauna Peruana " I have explained the erroneousness of 
this opinion, and described the specific differences existing be 
tween the two animals. On the neck, back, and thighs the 
huanacu is of a uniform reddish-brown color. The under part 
of the body, the middle line of the breast, and the inner side of 
the limbs are of a dingy white. The face is dark grey, and the 
lips of a clear white. Of the huanacus there are not those vari 
eties which are found among the llamas and the alpacos. The 
wool is shorter and coarser than that of the llama, and it is of 
nearly uniform length on all parts of the body. 

The huanacus live in small herds of five or seven, seldom ex 
ceeding the latter numbci. In some districts they are very shy, 
and retreat when any one approaches. If taken very young 
they may be turned ; but they are always ready to fall back into 
their wild state. It is with great difficulty they can be trained 



as beasts of burthen. In the menageries of Europe, huanacu. 
Drought from Chile are frequently represented to be llamas. 

The vicuna is a more beautiful animal than any of those jus 
described. Its size is between that of the llama and the alpaco. 
It measures from the sole of the foot to the top of the head foul 
feet one inch, and two and a half feet to the shoulders. The 
neck is longer and more slender than in either of the other rela 
tive species j and from them the vicuna is also distinguished by 
the superior fineness of its short, curly wool. The crown of the 
head, the upper part of the neck, the back, and thighs, are of a 
peculiar reddish-yellow hue, called by the people of the country 
color de vicuna. The lower part of the neck, and the inner parts 
of the limbs, are of a bright ochre color, and the breast and 
lower part of the body are white. 

During the rainy season the vicuna inhabits the ridges of the 
Cordillera, where some scanty vegetation is to be found. It 
never ventures up to the naked rocky summits, for its hoofs 
being accustomed only to turfy ground, are very soft and tender. 
It lives in herds, consisting of from six to fifteen females, and one 
male, who is the protector and leader of the herd. Whilst the 
females are quietly grazing, the male stands at the distance of 
some paces apart, and carefully keeps guard over them. At the 
approach of danger he gives a signal, consisting of a sort of 
whistling sound, and a quick movement of the foot. Immedi 
ately the herd draws closely together, each animal anxiously 
stretching out its head in the direction of the threatening danger. 
They then take to flight ; first moving leisurely and cautiously, and 
then quickening their pace to the utmost degree of speed ; whilst 
the male vicuna who covers the retreat frequently halts, to ob 
serve the movements of the enemy. The females, with singular 
fidelity and affection, reward the watchful care of their pro 
tector. If he is wounded or killed, they gather round him in a 
circle, uttering their shrill tones of lamentation, and they will 
suffer themselves to be captured or killed, rather than desert him 
by pursuing their flight. The neigh of the vicuna, like that of 
the other animals of its class, resembles a short, sharp whistle. 
But when the shrill sound vibrates through the pure Puna air, 


the practised ear can readily distinguish the cry of the vicuna 
from that of the other animals of the same family. 

The Indians seldom employ fire-arms in hunting the vicunas. 
They catch them by what they term the chacu. In this curious 
hunt, one man at least belonging to each family in the Puna 
villages takes a part, and women accompany the train, to offici 
ate as cooks to the hunters. The whole company, frequently 
amounting to seventy or eighty individuals, proceeds to the Altos 
(the most secluded parts of the Puna), which are the haunts of 
the vicunas. They take with them stakes, and a great quantity 
of rope and cord. A spacious open plain is selected, and the 
stakes are driven into the ground in a circle, at intervals of from 
twelve to fifteen feet apart, and are connected together by ropes 
fastened to them at the height of two or two and a half feet from 
the ground. The circular space within the stakes is about half 
a league in circumference, and an opening of about two hundred 
paces in width is left for entrance. On the ropes by which the 
stakes are fastened together the women hang pieces of colored 
rags, which flutter about in the wind. The chacu being fully 
prepared, the men, some of whom are mounted on horseback, 
range about within a circuit of several miles, driving before 
them all the herds of vicunas they meet with, and forcing them 
into the chacu. When a sufficient number of vicunas is col 
lected, the entrance is closed. The timid animals do not attempt 
to leap over the ropes, being frightened by the fluttering rags 
suspended from them, and, when thus secured, the Indians easily 
kill them by the bolas. These bolas consist of three balls, com 
posed either of lead or stone ; two of them heavy, and the third 
rather lighter. They are fastened to long, elastic strings, made 
of twisted sinews of the vicuna, and the opposite ends of the 
strings are all tied together. The Indian holds the lightest 
of the three balls in his hand, and swings the two others in a 
wide circle above his head ; then, taking his aim at the distance 
of about fifteen or twenty paces, he lets go the hand-ball, upon 
which all the three balls whirl in a circle, and twine round the 
object aimed at. The aim is usually taken at the hind legs of 
the animals, and the cords twisting round them, they become 
firmly bound. It requires great skill and long practice to throw 


the bolas dexterously, especially when on horseback : a novice 
in the art incurs the risk of dangerously hurting either himself 
or his horse, by not giving the balls the proper swing, or by 
letting go the hand-ball too soon. 

The vicunas, after being secured by the bolas, are killed, and 
the flesh is distributed in equal portions among the hunters. 
The skins belong to the Church. The price of a vicuna skin is 
four reals. When all the animals are killed, the stakes, ropes, 
&c., are packed up carefully, and conveyed to another spot, 
some miles distant, where the chacu is again fixed up. The 
hunting is continued in this manner for the space of a week. 
The number of animals killed during that interval varies accord 
ing to circumstances, being sometimes fifty or sixty, and at other 
times several hundred. During five days I took part in a chacu 
hunt in the Altos of Huayhuay, and in that space of time 122 
vicunas were caught. With the money obtained by the sale of 
the skins a new altar was erected in the church of the district. 
The flesh of the vicuna is more tender and better flavored than 
that of the llama. Fine cloth and hats are made of the wool. 
When taken young, the vicunas are easily tamed, and become 
very docile ; but when old, they are intractable and malicious. 
At Tarma I possessed a large and very fine vicuna. It used to 
follow me like a dog whenever I went out, whether on foot or 
on horseback. 

The frequent hunting seems not to have the effect of diminish 
ing the numbers of these animals. If in the vicinity of the vil 
lages where chacus are frequently established, they are less 
numerous than in other parts, it is because, to elude the pursuit 
of the hunters, they seek refuge in the Altos, where they are 
found in vast numbers. Several modern travellers have lamented 
the diminution of the vicunas, but without reason. In former 
times those animals were hunted more actively than at present. 

Under the dynasty of the Incas, when every useful plant and 
animal was an object of veneration, the Peruvians rendered 
almost divine worship to the llama and his relatives, which ex 
clusively furnished them with wool for clothing, and with flesh 
for food. The temples were adorned with large figures of these 
animals made of gold and silver, and their forms were repre- 


eented in domestic utensils made of stone and clay. In the 
valuable collection of Baron Clemens von Hugel at Vienna, there 
are four of these vessels, composed of porphyry, basalt, and 
granite, representing the four species, viz., the llama, the alpaco, 
the huanacu, and the vicuna. These antiquities are exceedingly 
scarce, and when I was in Peru I was unable to obtain any of 
them. How the ancient Peruvians, without the aid of iron tools, 
were able to carve stone so beautifully, is inconceivable. 

Besides the animals above mentioned, several others peculiar 
to the Pur^a ^are (deserving of remark. Among these are the 
Tarush (Cervus antisiensis, Orb.); the timid roe, which inhabits 
the high forests skirting the Andes ; the Viscacha (Lagidium peru- 
anum, May, and L. paHipes, Benn.), and the Chinchilla (Eriomys 
Chinchilla, Licht.), whose skin supplies the beautiful fur so much 
prized by the ladies of Europe. The viscachas and chinchillas 
resemble the rabbit in form and color, but they have shorter ears 
and long rough tails. They live on the steep rocky mountains, 
and in the morning and evening they creep out from their holes 
and crevices to nibble the alpine grasses. At night the Indians 
set before their holes traps made of horse-hair, in which the ani 
mals are easily caught. The most remarkable of the beasts of 
prey in these high regions is the Atoc (Canis Azara, Pr. Max.). 
It is a species of fox, which is found throughout the whole of South 
America. The warmer Puna valleys are inhabited by the Cu- 
guar (Felis concolor, L.), or, as the Indians call it, the Poma. 
When driven by hunger, this animal ventures into the loftiest 
Puna regions, even to the boundary of the eternal snow. The 
wild Hucumari (Ursus ornatus, Fr. Cuv.) but seldom wanders 
into the cold Puna. The hucumari is a large black bear, with 
a white muzzle and light-colored stripes on the breast. 

Of the numerous Puna birds, the majority of which may be 
classed as water-fowl, I will notice only a few of the most cha 
racteristic. Next to the condor, the most remarkable bird of 
prey is the Huarahuau, orthe Aloi (Polylorus megalopterus, Cob.),* 
one of the gyr-falcon species. This bird, which is a constant 
inhabitant of the level heights, preys on the carcases of dead 

* Phalcoboenus montanus, Orb. 


horses, mules, &c., but never attempts to meddle with living 
animals. It is very harmless, and has so little timidity, that it 
suffers itself to be approached near enough to be knocked down 
with a stick. The Acacli, or Pito (Colaptes rupicola, Orb.), 
flutters about the mountains ; it is a woodpecker, brown-speckled, 
with a yellow belly. This bird is seen in very great numbers, 
and it is difficult to imagine how it procures food in the Puna, 
where there are no insects. All the other woodpecker species 
exclusively confine themselves to woody regions. 

The thickets of rushy grass are inhabited by the Pishacas, or 
Yutu, a species of partridge (Tinamotis Pentlandii, Vig.) which 
the Indians catch by dogs. These dogs of the Puna Indians are 
a peculiar race (Canis Ligce, Tsch.). They are distinguished 
by a small head, a pointed muzzle, small erect ears, a tail curl 
ing upwards, and a thick shaggy skin. They are in a half- 
wild state, and very surly and snappish. They furiously attack 
strangers, and even after having received a deadly wound they 
will crawl along the ground, and make an effort to bite. To 
white people they appear to have a particular antipathy ; and 
sometimes it becomes rather a venturous undertaking for a Eu 
ropean traveller to approach an Indian hut, for these mountain 
dogs spring up to the sides of the horse, and try to bite the 
rider s legs. They are snarlish and intractable even to their 
masters, who are often obliged to enforce obedience by the help 
of a stick. Yet these dogs are very useful animals for guarding 
flocks, and they have a keen sent for the pishacas, which they 
catch and kill with a single bite. 

There is a very curious little bird in the Puna, about the size 
of a starling. Its plumage is exceedingly pretty, being on the 
back brown, striped with black ; on the throat grey, with two 
dark stripes, and on the breast white. This bird has the re 
markable peculiarity of making a monotonous sound at the close 
of every hour, during the night. The Indians call it the Inga- 
huallpa, or Cock of the Inga (Thinocorus Inga, Tsch.), and they 
associate many superstitious notions with its regular hourly cry. 
The Puna morasses and lagunas are animated by numerous 
feathered inhabitants. Among them is the huachua (Chloephaga 
melanoptera, Eyt.), a species of goose. The plumage of the body 


is dazzlingly white, the wings green, shading into brilliant violet, 
and the feet and beak of a bright red. The Licli (Charadrius 
respkndens, Tsch.) is a plover, whose plumage in color is like 
that of the huachua, but with a sort of metallic brightness. 
There are two species of ibis which belong to the Puna, though 
they are occasionally seen in some of the lower valleys. One 
is the Bandurria (Theristocus melanopis, Wagl,), and the other is 
the Yanahuico (Ibis Ordi, Bonap.). On the lagunas swim 
large flocks of Quiullas (Larus serranus, Tsch.), white mews, 
with black heads and red beaks, and the gigantic water-hen 
(Fulica gigantea, Soul.). The plumage of the latter is dark- 
grey, and at the root of the red beak there is a large yellow 
botch, in the form of a bean, whence the Indians give this bird 
the name of Anash sinqui, or bean nose. Among the few am 
phibia found in these regions one is particularly remarkable. 
It is a small kind of toad (Leiuperus viridis, Tsch.), and inhabits 
the boundaries of the perpetual snow. 

The grasses of the Puna are used as fodder, and in many of 
the sheltered valleys there are farms (Haciendas de Ganado], 
where large herds of cattle are reared. The owners of some of 
these farms possess several thousand sheep, and from four to five 
hundred cows. During the rainy season the cattle are driven 
into the Altos. They graze in those high regions, often at the 
altitude of 15,000 feet above the sea. When the frost sets in 
they are brought down to the marshy valleys, and they suffer 
much from insufficiency of pasture. From the wool of the 
sheep a coarse kind of cloth, called Bayeta, is made in the Sierra. 
Some of this wool is exported, and is much prized in Europe. 
The old black cattle and sheep are slaughtered, and their flesh, 
when dried, is the principal food of the inhabitants of the Puna, 
particularly of the mining population. The dried beef is called 
Charqui, and the mutton is called Chalona. The bulls graze in 
the remote Altos, and most of them are reserved for the bull 
fights in the Sierra villages. As they seldom see a human being 
they become exceedingly wild ; so much so that the herdsmen 
are often afraid to approach them. In the daytime they roam 
about marshy places, and at nightfall they retire for shelter be 
neath some overhanging rock. These animals render travelling 


in many parts of the Puna extremely dangerous, for they often 
attack people so suddenly as to afford no time for defence. It is 
true they usually announce their approach by a deep bellow ; 
but the open plain seldom presents any opportunity for escape. 
On several occasions a weli-aimed shot alone saved me from 
the attack of one of these ferocious bulls. 

The walls of the haciendas are of rough unhewn stone. They 
are divided into large square rooms, always damp, cold, and un 
inhabitable. Beneath the straw roofs there usually hang long 
rows of the stuffed skins of foxes ; for every Indian who kills 
an old fox receives, by way of reward, a sheep, and for a young 
one a lamb. The Cholos are therefore zealous fox-hunters, and 
they may possibly succeed in altogether extirpating that animal 
which in some districts is so numerous as to be a perfect scourge 

As the sheep, even in the dry season, find pasture more easily 
than the horned cattle, they are left during the whole year in 
the higher parts of the Puna, under the care of Indian shepherds. 
At night they are driven into cerates, large square roofless build 
ings, and are guarded by dogs. The shepherds make a practice 
of every year burning the dry grass of the Puna, in order to 
improve the growth of the fodder. A Puna fire does not, how 
ever, present the imposing spectacle of the prairie fires, as de 
scribed by travellers in North America, possibly because the Puna 
Straw is shorter, and is always somewhat damp. 

The dwellings of the shepherds are built in the same rude 
style which characterizes all the huts in the Puna, and they im 
press the European traveller with a very unfavorable notion of 
the intelligence of the people. The architecture of these huts 
consists in laying down some large stones, in a circle of about 
eight or ten feet in diameter, by way of a foundation. These 
stones are covered with earth or turf, and then with successive 
layers of stones and earth, until the wall attains the height of 
about four feet : at the point most sheltered from the wind, an 
opening of a foot and a half or two feet high serves as a door. 
On this low circular wall rests the roof, which is formed in the 
ollowing manner. Six or eight magay* poles are fastened to- 

* The Magay is the stem of the American Agave. It has a sort of spungy 


gethe-, so as to form a point at the top. Over these poles thin 
laths are laid horizontally, and fastened with straw-bands, and 
the whole conical-formed frame-work is overlaid with a covering 
of Puna straw. As a security against the wind, two thick straw- 
bands are crossed over the point of the roof, and at their ends, 
which hang down to the ground, heavy stones are fastened. The 
whole fabric is then completed. The hut at its central point is 
about eight feet high ; but at the sides, no more than three and a 
half or four feet. The entrance is so low, that one is obliged to 
creep in almost bent double ; and before the aperture hangs a 
cow-hide, by way of a door. 

Internally these huts present miserable pictures of poverty 
and uncleanliness. Two stones serve as a stove, containing a 
scanty fire fed by dry dung (buncgas), and turf (champo). An 
earthen pot for cooking soup, another for roasting maize, two or 
three gourd-shells for plates, and a porongo for containing wate^ 
make up the catalogue of the goods and chattels in a Puna hut. 
On dirty sheep-skins spread on the ground, sit the Indian and his 
wife, listlessly munching their coca ; whilst the naked children 
roll about paddling in pools of water formed by continual drip 
pings from the roof. The other inhabitants of the hut are usu 
ally three or four hungry dogs, some lambs, and swarms of 

From all this it will readily be imagined that a Puna hut is no 
very agreeable or inviting retreat. Yet, when worn out by the 
dangers and fatigues of a long day s journey, and exposed to the 
fury of a mountain storm, the weary traveller, heedless of suffo 
cating clouds of smoke and mephitic odors, gladly creeps into 
the rude dwelling. Taking up his resting-place on the damp 
floor, with his saddle-cloth for a pillow, he is thankful to find 
himself once again in a human habitation, even though its occu 
pants be not many degrees elevated above the brute creation. 

In the Puna there are many remains of the great high road of 
the Incas, which led from Cuzco to Quito, stretching through the 

sap ; but it is covered externally with a strong tough bast. The Magay 
supplies the inhabitants of Upper Peru with an excellent kind of light and 
strong building wood. 



whole extent of Peru. It was the grandest work that America 
possessed before European civilisation found its way to that quai- 
ter of the world. Even those who are unacquainted with the 
wise dominion of the ancient Peruvian sovereigns, their compre 
hensive laws, and the high civilisation they diffused over the 
whole country, must by this gigantic work be impressed with the 
highest idea of the cultivation of the age; for well-constructed 
roads may always be regarded as proofs of a nation s advance 
ment. There is not in Peru at the present time any modern 
road in the most remote degree comparable to the Incas high 
way. The best preserved fragments which came under my 
observation were in the Altos, between Jauja and Tarma. Judg 
ing from these portions, it would appear that the road must have 
been from twenty-five to thirty feet broad, and that it was paved 
with large flat stones. At intervals of about twelve paces distant 
one from another there is a row of smaller stones, laid horizon 
tally and a little elevated, so that the road ascended, as it were, 
by a succession of terraces. It was edged on each side by a low 
wall of small stones. 

Other remains of ancient Peru, frequently met with in these 
parts, are small buildings, formerly used as stations for the mes 
sengers who promulgated the commands of the Incas through all 
parts of the country. Some of these buildings are still in a 
tolerably good state of preservation. They were always erected 
on little hillocks, and at such distances apart, that from each 
station the nearest one on either side was discernible. When a 
messenger was despatched from a station a signal was hoisted, 
and a messenger from the next successive station met him half 
way, and received from him the despatch, which was in this 
manner forwarded from one station to another till it reached its 
destination. A constant communication was thus kept up be 
tween the capital and the most distant parts of the country. A 
proof of the extraordinary rapidity with which these communi 
cations were carried on is the fact, recorded on unquestionable 
authority, that the royal table in Cuzco was served with fresh 
fish, caught in the sea near the Temple of the Sun in Lurin, a 
distance of more than 200 leagues from Cuzco. 

The messenger stations have by some travellers beeo con- 


founded with the forts, of which remains are met with along the 
great Inca road. The forts were buildings destined for totally 
different purposes. They were magazines for grain, and were 
built by the Incas to secure to their armies in these barren 
regions the requisite supplies of food. Vestiges of these forts 
are frequently seen in the Altos of Southern and Central Peru. 
They are broad round towers, usually built against a rocky de 
clivity, and with numerous long apertures for the admission of 

Even the broad level heights in which no trace of human 
habitations is discoverable, have been excavated by the merce 
nary Peruvian mestizos and Creoles in search of hidden trea 
sures. Their faith in the existence of concealed riches is 
founded on the following tradition. When the last reigning Inca, 
Atabiliba or Atahuallpa, was made prisoner by Don Francisco 
Pizarro, in Caxamarca, he proposed to ransom himself from the 
Spanish commander. The price he offered for his liberty was to 
fill with gold the cell in which he was confined, to the height of 
a certain line on the wall, which Pizarro marked with his sword. 
The cell, it may be mentioned, was twenty-two feet long and 
seventeen broad. A quantity of gold which the Inca ordered to 
be collected in Caxamarca and its vicinity, when piled up on the 
floor of the cell, did not reach above halfway to the given mark. 
The Inca then despatched messengers to Cuzco to obtain from 
the royal treasury the gold required to make up the deficiency ; 
and accordingly eleven thousand llamas were despatched from 
Cuzco to Caxamarca, each laden with one hundred pounds of 
gold. But ere the treasure reached its destination, Atahuallpa 
was hanged by the advice of Don Diego de Almangra and the 
Dominican monk Vicente de Valverde. The terror-stirring news 
flew like wild-fire through the land, and speedily reached the 
convoy of Indians, who were driving their richly-laden llamas 
over the level heights into Central Peru. On the spot where the 
intelligence of Atahuallpa s death was communicated to them, 
the dismayed Indians concealed the treasure, and then dispersed. 

Whether the number of the llamas was really so considerable 
as it is stated to have been, may fairly be doubted ; but that a 
vast quantity of gold was on its way to Caxamarca, and was con 


cealed, is a well-authenticated fact. That the Indians should 
never have made any attempt to recover this treasure is quite 
consistent with their character. It is not improbable that even 
now some particular individuals among them may know the 
place of concealment ; but a certain feeling of awe transmitted 
through several centuries from father to son, has, in their minds, 
associated the hidden treasure with the blood of their last king, 
and this feeling doubtless prompts them to keep the secret 

From traditionary accounts, which bear the appearance of 
probability, it would appear that the gold was buried somewhere 
in the Altos of Mito, near the valley of Jauja. Searches have 
frequently been made in that vicinity, but no clue to the hiding- 
place has yet been discovered. 



Cerro de Pasco First discovery of the Mines Careless mode of working 
them Mine Owners and Mine Laborers Amalgamating and Refining 
Produce of the Mines Life in Cerro de Pasco Different Classes of the 
Population Gaming and Drunkenness Extravagance and Improvidence 
of the Indian Mine Laborers The Cerro de San Fernando Other Im 
portant Mining Districts in Peru The Salcedo Mine Castrovireyna 
Vast Productiveness of the Silver Mines of Peru Rich Mines secretly 
known to the Indians Roads leading from Cerro de Pasco The Laguna 
of Chinchaycocha Battle of Junin Indian Robbers A Day and a Night 
in the Puna \V ilds. 

HAVING traversed the long and difficult route from the capital 
of Peru, by way of the wild Cordillera to the level heights of 
Bombon, and from thence having ascended the steep winding ac 
clivities of the mountain chain of Olachin, the traveller suddenly 
beholds in the distance a large and populous city. This is the 
celebrated Cerro de Pasco, famed throughout the world for its 
rich silver mines. It is situated in 10 48 S. latitude and 76 
23 W. longitude, and at the height of 13,673 feet above the sea 
level. It is built in a basin-shaped hollow, encircled by barren 
and precipitous rocks. Between these rocks difficult winding 
roads or paths lead down to the city, which spreads out in irre 
gular divisions, surrounded on all sides by little lagunes, or 
swamps. The pleasing impression created by the first view of 
Cerro de Pasco from the heights is very greatly modified on en 
tering the town. Crooked, narrow, and dirty streets are bordered 
by rows of irregularly-built houses ; and miserable Indian huts 
abut close against well-built dwellings, whose size and structure 
give a certain European character to the city when viewed from 
a distance. Without bestowing a glance on the busy throng 
which circulates through the streets and squares, the varied 
styles of the buildings sufficiently indicate to the observer how 


many different classes of people have united together to found, 
in the tropics, and on the very confines of the perpetual snow, a 
city of such magnitude, and of so motley an aspect. The wild 
barrenness of the surrounding scenery, and the extreme cold of 
the rigorous climate the remote and solitary position of the 
city all denote that one common bond of union must have drawn 
together the diversified elements which compose the population 
of Cerro de Pasco. And so it really is. In this inhospitable 
region, where the surface of the soil produces nothing, nature 
has buried boundless stores of wealth in the bowels of the earth, 
and the silver mines of Cerro de Pasco have drawn people from 
all parts of the world to one point, and for one object. 

History relates that about two hundred and fifteen years ago 
an Indian shepherd, named Huari Capcha, tended his flocks on a 
small pampa to the south-east of the Lake of Llauricocha, the* 
mother of the great river Amazon. One day, when the shep 
herd had wandered farther than usual from his hut, he sought a 
resting-place on a declivity of the Cerro de Santiestevan, and 
when evening drew in he kindled a fire to protect himself against 
the cold ; he then lay down to sleep. When he awoke on the 
following morning, he was amazed to find the stone beneath the 
ashes of his fire melted and turned to silver. He joyfully com 
municated the discovery to his master, Don Jose Ugarte, a 
Spaniard, who owned a hacienda in the Quebrada de Huariaca. 
Ugarte forthwith repaired to the spot, where he found indications 
of a very rich vein of silver ore, which he immediately made 
active preparations for working. In this mine, which is distin 
guished by the name of La Descubridora (the discoverer), silver 
is still obtained. From the village of Pasco, about two leagues 
distant, where already productive mines were worked, several 
rich mine owners removed to Llauricocha ; here they sought 
and discovered new veins, and established new mining works. 
The vast abundance of the ore drew new speculators to the 
spot ; some to work the mines, and others to supply the necessary 
wants of the increasing population. In this manner was rapidly 
founded a city, which, at times when the produce of metal is 
very considerable, counts 18,000 inhabitants. 

In Cerro de Pasco there are two very remarkable veins of 


silver. One of them, the Vcta de Colquirirca, runs nearly in a 
straight line from north to south, and has already been traced to 
the length of 9,600 feet, and the breadth of 412 ; the other vein 
is the Veta de Pariarirca, which takes a direction from east-south 
east to west-north-west, and which intersects the Veta de Col 
quirirca precisely, it is supposed, under the market-place of the 
city. Its known extent is 6,400 feet in length, and 380 feet in 
breadth. From these large veins numberless smaller ones branch 
off in various directions, so that a net- work of silver may be sup 
posed to spread beneath the surface of the earth. Some thousand 
openings or mouths (boca?ninas) are the entrances to these mines. 
Most of these entrances are within the city itself, in small houses ; 
and some are in the dwellings of the mine-owners. Many of 
them are exceedingly shallow, and not more than five hundred 
deserve the name of shafts. All are worked in a very disorderly 
and careless way ; the grand object of their owners being to 
avoid expense. The dangerous parts in the shafts are never 
walled up, and the excavations proceed without the adoption of 
any measures of security. The consequence is, that accidents 
caused by the falling in of the galleries are of frequent occur 
rence ; and every year the lives of numbers of the Indian miners 
are sacrificed. A melancholy example of the effects of this 
negligence is presented by the now ruined mine of Matagente 
(literally Kill People), in which three hundred laborers were 
killed by the falling in of a shaft. ] descended into several of 
the mines, among others into the Descubridora, which is one of 
the deepest, and I always felt that I had good reason to congratu 
late myself on returning to the surface of the earth in safety. 
Rotten blocks of wood and loose stones serve for steps, and, 
where these cannot be placed, the shaft, which in most instances 
runs nearly perpendicular, is descended by the help of rusty 
chains and ropes, whilst loose fragments of rubbish are continually 
falling from the damp walls. 

The mine laborers, all of whom are Indians, are of two classes. 
One class consists of those who work in the mines all the year 
round without intermission, and who receive regular wages from 
the; mine owners ; the other class consists of those who make 
only temporary visits to Cerro dc Pasco, when they are attracted 


thither by the boyas * This latter class of laborers are called 
maquipuros. Most of them come from the distant provinces, 
and they return to their homes when the boy a is at an end. The 
mine laborers are also subdivided into two classes, the one called 
barreteros, whose employment consists in breaking the ore ; and 
the other called hapires, or chaquiris, who bring up the ore from 
the shaft. The work allotted to the hapires is exceedingly la 
borious. Each load consists of from fifty to seventy-five pounds 
of metal, which is carried in a very irksome and inconvenient 
manner in an untanned hide, called a capacho. The hapire per 
forms his toilsome duty in a state of nudity, for, notwithstanding 
the coldness of the climate, he becomes so heated by his labori 
ous exertion, that he is glad to divest himself of his clothing. 
As the work is carried on incessantly day and night, the miners 
are divided into parties called puntas, each party working for 
twelve successive hours. At six o clock morning and evening 
the puntas are relieved. Each one is under the inspection of a 
mayor-domo. When a mine yields a scanty supply of metal, 
the laborers are paid in money ; the barreteros receiving six 
reals per day, and the hapires only four. During the boyas the 
laborers receive instead of their wages in money, a share of the 
ore. The Indians often try to appropriate to themselves surrepti 
tiously pieces of ore ; but to do this requires great cunning and 
dexterity, so narrowly are they watched by the mayor-domos. 
Nevertheless, they sometimes succeed. One of the hapires re 
lated to me how he had contrived to carry off a most valuable 
piece of silver. He fastened it on his back, and then wrapping 
himself in his poncho, he pretended to be so ill, that he obtained 
permission to quit the mine. Two of his confederates who helped 
him out, assisted him in concealing the treasure. The pohorilla, 
a dark powdery kind of ore, very full of silver, used to be ab 
stracted from the mines by the following stratagem. The work 
men would strip off their clothes, and having moistened the whole 

* A mine is said to be in boya when it yields an unusually abundant 
supply of metal. Owing to the great number of mines in Cerro de Pasco, 
some of them are always in this prolific state. There are times when the 
boyas bring such an influx of miners to Cerro de Pasco that the population 
is augmented to double or triple its ordinary amount. 


of their bodies with water, would roll themselves in the polvo- 
rilla which stuck to. them. On their return home they washed 
off the silver-dust and sold it for several dollars. But this trick 
being detected, a stop was soon put to it, for, before leaving the 
mines, the laborers are now required to strip in order to be 

The operation of separating the silver from the dross is per 
formed at some distance from Cerro de Pasco, in haciendas, be 
longing to the great mine owners. The process is executed in a 
very clumsy, imperfect, and at the same time, a very expensive 
manner. The amalgamation of the quicksilver with the metal 
is effected by the tramping of horses. The animals employed in 
this way arc a small ill-looking race, brought from Ayacucho 
and Cuzco, where they are found in numerous herds. The 
quicksilver speedily has a fatal effect on their hoofs, and after a 
few years the animals become unfit for work. The separation 
of the metals is managed with as little judgment as the amalga 
mation, and the waste of quicksilver is enormous. It is com 
puted that on each mark of silver, half a pound of quicksilver is 
expended. The quicksilver, with the exception of some little 
brought from Idria and Huancavelica, comes from Spain in iron 
jars, each containing about seventy-five pounds weight of the 
metal. In Lima the price of these jars is from sixty to 100 
dollars each, but they are occasionally sold as high as 135 or 
140 dollars. Considering the vast losses which the Peruvian 
mine owners sustain by the waste of quicksilver and the de 
fective mode of refining, it may fairly be inferred, that their 
profits are about one-third less than they would be under a better 
system of management. 

In Cerro de Pasco there are places called bolichcs, in which 
the silver is separated from the dross by the same process as that 
practised in the haciendas, only on a smaller scale. In the 
loliches the amalgamation is performed, not by horses but by 
Indians, who mix the quicksilver with the ore by stamping on it 
with their feet for several hours in succession. This occupation 
they usually perform barefooted, and the consequence is, that 
paralysis and other diseases caused by the action of mercury, 
are very frequent among the persons thus employed. The 


owners of the boliches, who are mostly Italians, are not mine 
proprietors. They obtain the metal from the Indians, who give 
them their huachacas* in exchange for brandy and other articles. 
On the other hand, the owners of the bohches obtain the money 
required for their speculations from capitalists, who make them 
pay an enormous interest. Nevertheless, many amass consider 
able fortunes in the course of a few years ; for they scruple not 
to take the most unjust advantage of the Indians, whose labori 
ous toil is rewarded by little gain. 

The law requires that all the silver drawn from the mines of 
Cerro de Pasco shall be conveyed to a government smelting- 
house, called the Callana, there to be cast into bars of one 
hundred pounds weight, to be stamped, and charged with certain 
imposts. The value of silver in Cerro de Pasco varies from 
seven to eight dollars per mark. The standard value in Lima 
is eight dollars and a half. 

It is impossible to form anything like an accurate estimate of 
the yearly produce of the mines of Cerro de Pasco ; for a vast 
quantity of silver is never taken to the Call ana, but is smuggled 
to the coast, and from thence shipped for Europe. In the year 
1838, no less than 85,000 marks of contraband silver were con 
veyed to the sea port of Huacho, and safely shipped on board a 
schooner. The quantity of silver annually smelted and stamped 
in the Callana is from two to three hundred thousand marks 
seldom exceeding the latter amount. From 1784 to 1820, 1826, 
and 1827, the amount was 8,051,409 marks; in the year 1784 
it was 68,208 marks ; and in 1785, 73,455 marks. During 
seventeen years it was under 200.000 marks ; and only during 
three years above 300,000. The produce of the mines is ex 
ceedingly fluctuating. The successive revolutions which have 
agitated the country have tended very considerably to check 
mining operations. On the overthrow of Santa Cruz, Don 
Miguel Otero, the most active and intelligent mino owner of 
Cerro de Pasco, was banished ; an event which had a very de 
pressing influence on all the mining transactions of that part of 

* Huachacas are the portions of ore which are distributed among the In 
diana at the time of the boyas, instead of their wages being paid in money. 


South America. Within the last few years, however, mining 
has received a new impetus, and attention has been directed to 
the adoption of a more speedy and less expensive system of 

As a place of residence Cerro de Pasco is exceedingly disa- 
greeable ; nothing but the pursuit of wealth can reconcile any 
one to a long abode in it. The climate, like that of the higher 
Puna, is cold and stormy. The better sort of houses are well 
built, and are provided with good English fire-places and chim 
neys. But however comfortably lodged, the new comer cannot 
easily reconcile himself to the reflection that the earth is hollow 
beneath his feet. Still less agreeable is it to be awakened in 
the night by the incessant hammering of the Indian miners. 
Luckily earthquakes are of rare occurrence in those parts : it 
would require no very violent shock to bury the whole city in 
the bosom of the earth. 

Silver being the only produce of the soil, the necessaries of 
life are all exceedingly dear in the Cerro, as they have to be 
brought from distant places. The warehouses are, it is true, 
always plentifully supplied even with the choicest luxuries ; but 
the extortion of venders and the abundance of money render 
prices most exorbitant. The market, is so well supplied with 
provisions that it may vie with that of Lima. The products of the 
coast, of the table-lands and the forests, are all to be procured 
in the market of Cerro de Pasco ; but the price demanded for 
every article is invariably more than double its worth. House 
rents are also extravagantly high ; and the keep of horses is 
exceedingly expensive. 

The population of Cerro de Pasco presents a motley assem 
blage of human beings, such as one would scarcely expect to 
find in a city situated at 14,000 feet above the sea, and encircled 
by wild mountains. The Old and the New Worlds seem there 
to have joined hands, and there is scarcely any nation of Europe 
or America that has not its representative in Cerro de Paseo. 
The Swede and the Sicilian, the Canadian and the Argentinian, 
are all united here at one point, and for one object. The inha 
bitants of this city may be ranked in two divisions, viz., trader? 
and miners taking both terms in their most comprehensive 


sense. The mercantile population consists chiefly of Europeans 
or white Creoles, particularly those who are owners of large 
magazines. The keepers of coffee houses and brandy shops are 
here, as in Lima, chiefly Italians from Genoa. Other shops are 
kept by the Mestizos, and the provision-dealers are chiefly In- 
clians, who bring their supplies from remote places. 

The mining population may be divided into mine owners (mi- 
neros) and Indian laborers. The majority of the mineros are 
descendants of the old Spanish families, who, at an early period, 
became possessors of the mines, whence they derived enormous 
wealth, which most of them dissipated in prodigal extravagance. 
At the present time, only a very few of the mineros are rich 
enough to defray, from their own resources, the vast expense 
attending the operations of mining. They consequently raise the 
required money by loans from the capitalists of Lima, who re 
quire interest of 100 or 120 per cent., and, moreover, insist on 
having bars of silver at a price below standard value. To these 
hard conditions, together with the custom that has been forced 
upon the miners of paying their laborers in metal, at times when 
it is very abundant, may be traced the cause of the miserable 
system of mine-working practised in Cerro de Pasco. To liqui 
date his burthensome debts the minero makes his laborers dig as 
much ore as possible from the mine, without any precautions 
being taken to guard against accidents. The money-lenders, on 
the other hand, have no other security for the recovery of their 
re-payment than the promise of the minero, and a failure of the 
usual produce of a mine exposes them to the risk of losing the 
money they have advanced. 

Under these circumstances it can scarcely be expected that 
the character and habits of the minero should qualify him to take 
a high rank in the social scale. His insatiable thirst for wealth 
continually prompts him to embark in new enterprises, whereby 
he frequently loses in one what he gains in another. After a 
mine has been worked without gain for a series of years, an un 
expected boya probably occurs, and an immense quantity of sil 
ver may be extracted. But a minero retiring on the proceeds 
of a boya is an event of rare occurrence. A vain hope of in 
creasing fortune prompts him to risk the certain for the uncer- 


tain : and the result frequently is, that the once prosperous mi. 
nero has nothing to bequeath to his children but a mine heavily 
burthened with debt. The persevering ardor of persons engaged 
in mining is truly remarkable. Unchecked by disappointment, 
they pursue the career in which they have embarked. Even 
when ruin appears inevitable, the love of money subdues the 
warnings of reason, and hope conjures up, from year to year, 
visionary pictures of riches yet to come. 

Joined to this infatuated pursuit of the career once entered on, 
an inordinate passion for cards and dice contributes to ruin many 
of the mineros of Cerro de Pasco. In few other places are such 
vast sums staked at the gaming-table ; for the superabundance 
of silver feeds that national vice of the Spaniards and their de 
scendants. From the earliest hours of morning cards and dice 
are in requisition. The mine owner leaves his silver stores, and 
the shop-keeper forsakes his counter, to pass a few hours every 
day at the gaming-table ; and card-playing is the only amuse- 
ment in the best houses of the town. The mayordomos, after 
being engaged in the mines throughout the whole day, assemble 
with their comrades in the evening, round the gaming-table, 
from which they often do not rise until six in the morning, when 
the bell summons them to resume their subterraneous occupa 
tions. They not unfrequently gamble away their share of a 
boya before any indication of one is discernible in the mine. 

The working class of miners is composed of Indians, who 
throng to Cerro de Pasco from all the provinces, far and near, 
especially when boyas are expected. At times, when the mines 
are not very productive, the number of Indian laborers amounts 
to between three and four thousand ; but when there is a great 
supply of metal, the ordinary number of mine-workers is more 
than tripled. The Indians labor with a degree of patient indus 
try, which it would be vain to expect from European workmen 
similarly circumstanced. This observation applies to the ha- 
pires in particular. Content with wretched food, and still more 
wretched lodging, the hapire goes through his hard day s work, 
partaking of no refreshment but coca, and at the end of the week 
(deduction being made for the food, &c., obtained on credit from 
the minero), he, possibly, finds himself in possession of a dollar. 


This sum he spends on his Sunday holiday in chicha and brandy, 
of which he takes as much as his money will pay for, or as he 
can get on credit. When excited by strong drinks, such as 
maize beer, chicha, and brandy, to which they are very much 
addicted, the Indian miners are exceedingly quarrelsome. The 
laborers belonging to the different mines go about the streets 
rioting and attacking each other, and they frequently get involved 
in dangerous affrays. No Sunday or Friday passes over without 
the occurrence of battles, in which knives, sticks, and stones are 
used as weapons ; and the actors in these scenes of violence 
inflict on each other severe and often fatal wounds. Any effec 
tive police interference to quell these street riots, is out of the 

When an unusually abundant produce of the mines throws 
extra payment into the hands of the mine laborers, they squan 
der their money with the most absurd extravagance, and they are 
excellent customers to the European dealers in dress and other 
articles of luxury. Prompted by a ludicrous spirit of imitation, 
the Indian, in his fits of drunkenness, will purchase costly things 
which he can have no possible use for, and which he becomes 
weary of, after an hour s possession. I once saw an Indian pur 
chase a cloak of fine cloth, for which he paid ninety-two dollars. 
He then repaired to a neighboring pulperia,* where he drank till 
he became intoxicated, and then, staggering into the street, he 
fell down, and rolled in the kennel. On rising, and discovering 
that his cloak was besmeared with mud, he threw it off, and left 
it in the street, for any one who might choose to pick it up. Such 
acts of reckless prodigality are of daily occurrence. A watch 
maker in Cerro de Pasco informed me that one day an Indian 
came to his shop to purchase a gold watch. He showed him one, 
observing that the price was twelve gold ounces (204 dollars), 
and that it would probably be- too dear for him. The Cholo paid 
the money, and took the watch ; then, after having examined it 
for a few minutes, he dashed- it on the ground, observing that the 
thing was of no use to him. When the Indian miner possesses 
money, he never thinks of laying by a part of it, as neither he 


A shop in which chicha, brandy, &c., are vended 


nor any of his family feel the least ambition to improve their 
miserable way of life. With them, drinking is the highest of 
all gratifications, and in the enjoyment of the present moment, 
they lose sight of all considerations for the future. Even those 
Cholos who come from distant parts of the country to share in 
the rich harvest of the mines of Cerro de Pasco, return to their 
homes as poor as when they left them, and with manners and 
morals vastly deteriorated. 

Besides the mines of Cerro de Pasco, which in point of impor 
tance are nowise inferior to those of Potosi, there are numerous 
very rich mining districts in Peru. Among the most prolific may 
be ranked the provinces of Pataz, Huamanchuco, Caxamarca, 
and Hualgayoc. In this last-named province is situated the 
Cerro de San Fernando, on which Alexander Von Humboldt has 
conferred so much celebrity. The rich silver veins were dis 
covered there in the year 1771 ; and there are now upwards of 
1400 bocaminas. On the insulated mountain the veins of metal 
intersect each other in every direction, and they are alike re 
markable for being easily worked and exceedingly prolific. The 
mines of Huantaxaya, situated on the coast in the neighborhood 
of Iquique, were also very rich, and the silver obtained from them 
was either pure or containing a very slight admixture of foreign 
substances. They yielded an incredible quantity of metal, but 
they were speedily exhausted ; and are now totally barren. The 
chains of hills in the southern districts of Peru contain a multi 
tude of very rich mines, of which the most remarkable are those 
of San Antonio de Esquilache, Tamayos, Picotani, Cancharoni, 
and Chupicos ; but owing to bad working and defective drainage, 
many of the veins are in a very ruinous state, and the metol 
drawn from them bears no proportion to the quantity they con 
tain. The Salcedo mine is very celebrated for the vast abun 
dance of its produce, and the tragical end of its original owner. 

Don Jose Salcedo, a poor Spaniard, who dwelt in Puno, was in 
love with a young Indian girl, whose mother promised, on condi 
tion of his marrying her daughter, that she would show him 
a rich silver mine. Salcedo fulfilled the condition, obtained 
possession of the mine, and worked it with the greatest success. 
The report of his wealth soon roused the envy of the Count de 


Lcmos, then viceroy of Peru, who sought to possess himself of the 
mine. By his generosity and benevolence Salcedo had become 
a great favorite with the Indian population, and the viceroy took 
advantage of this circumstance to accuse him of high treason, on 
the ground that he was exciting the Indians against the Spanish 
government. Salcedo was arrested, tried, and condemned to 
death. Whilst he was in prison, he begged to be permitted to 
send to Madrid the documents relating to his trial, and to appeal 
to the mercy of the king. He proposed, if the viceroy would 
grant his request, that he would pay him the daily tribute of a 
bar of silver, from the time when the ship left the port of Callao 
with the documents, until the day of her return. When it is re 
collected that at that period the voyage from Callao to Spain 
occupied from twelve to sixteen months, some idea may be formed 
of the enormous wealth of Salcedo and his mine. The viceroy 
rejected this proposition, ordered Salcedo to be hanged, and set 
out for Puno to take possession of the mine.* 

But this cruel and unjust proceeding failed in the attainment 
of its object. As soon as Salcedo s death-doom was pronounced, 
his mother-in-law, accompanied by a number of relations and 
friends, repaired to the mine, flooded it with water, destroyed the 
works, and closed up the entrance so effectually that it was im 
possible to trace it out. They then dispersed ; but some of them, 
who were afterwards captured, could not be induced, either by 
promises or tortures, to reveal the position of the mouth of the 
mine, which to this day remains undiscovered. All that is known 
about it is that it was situated in the neighborhood of Cerro de 
Laycacota and Cananchari. 

Another extraordinary example of the productiveness of the 
Peruvian mines, is found at San Jose, in the department of 
Huancavelica. The owner of the mines of San Jose requested 
the viceroy Castro, whose friend he was, to become godfather to 
his first child. The viceroy consented, but at the time fixed for 
the christening, some important affair of state prevented him from 
quitting the capital, and he sent the vice-queen to officiate as his 
proxy, To render honor to his illustrious guest, the owner of the 

* The date of Salcedo s death was May, 16G9 


San Jose mines laid down a triple row of silver bars along the 
whole way (and it was no very short distance), from his house to 
church. Over this silver pavement the vice-queen accompanied 
the infant to the church, where it was baptized. On her return, 
her munificent host presented to her the whole of the silver road, 
in token of his gratitude for the honor she had conferred on him. 
Since that time, the mines and the province in which they are 
situated have borne the name of Castrovireyna. In most of these 
mines the works have been discontinued. Owing to defective 
arrangements, one of the richest of these mines fell in, and 122 
workmen were buried in the ruins. Since that catastrophe, the 
Indians refuse to enter the mines. Many stories are related of 
spirits and apparitions said to haunt the mines of Castrovireyna. 
I was surprised to hear these tales, for the imagination of the 
Indian miners is not very fertile in the creation of this sort of 
superstitious terrors. 

Notwithstanding the enormous amount of wealth, which the 
mines of Peru have already yielded, and still continue to yield, 
only a very small portion of the silver veins has been worked. 
It is a well-known fact, that the Indians are aware of the exist 
ence of many rich mines, the situation of which they will never 
disclose to the whites, nor to the detested mestizos. Heretofore 
mining has been to them all toil and little profit, and it has bound 
them in chains from which they will not easily emancipate them 
selves. For centuries past, the knowledge of some of the richest 
silver mines has been with inviolable secresy transmitted from 
father to son. All endeavors to prevail on them to divulge these 
secrets have hitherto been fruitless. In the village of Huancayo, 
there lived, a few years ago, two brothers, Don Jose and Don 
Pedro Yriarte, two of the most eminent mineros of Peru. Hav 
ing obtained certain intelligence that in the neighboring moun 
tains there existed some veins of pure silver, they sent a young 
man, their agent, to endeavor to gain further information on the 
subject. The agent took up his abode in the cottage of a 
shepherd, co whom, however, he gave not the slightest intimation 
of the object of his mission. After a little time, an attachment 
arose between the young man and the shepherd s daughter, and 
the girl promised to disclose to her lover the position of a very 


rich mine. On a certain day, when she was going out to tend 
her sheep, she told him to follow her at a distance, and to notice 
the spot where she would let fall her manta ; by turning up the 
earth on that spot, she assured him he would find the mouth 
of a mine. The young man did as he was directed, and after 
digging for a little time, he discovered a mine of considerable 
depth, containing rich ore. Whilst busily engaged in breaking 
out the metal, he was joined by the girl s father, who expressed 
himself delighted at the discovery, and offered to assist him. 
After they had been at work for some hours, the old Indian 
handed to his companion a cup of chicha, which the young man 
thankfully accepted. But he had no sooner tasted the liquor than 
he felt ill, and he soon became convinced that poison had been 
mixed with the beverage. He snatched up the bag containing 
the metal he had collected, mounted his horse, and with the 
utmost speed galloped off to Huancayo. There, he related to 
Yriarte all that had occurred, described as accurately as he could 
the situation of the mine, and died on the following night. Active 
measures were immediately set on foot, to trace out the mine, but 
without effect. The Indian and all his family had disappeared, 
and the mine was never discovered. 

In Huancayo there also dwelt a Franciscan monk. He was 
an inveterate gamester, and was involved in pecuniary embar 
rassments. The Indians in the neighborhood of his dwelling- 
place were much attached to him, and frequently sent him pre 
sents of poultry, cheese, butter, &c. One day, after he had been 
a loser at the gaming-table, he complained bitterly of his mis 
fortunes to an Indian, who was his particular friend. After 
some deliberation, the Indian observed, that possibly he could 
render him some assistance ; and, accordingly, on the following 
evening, he brought him a large bag full of rich silver ore. 
This present was several times repeated ; but the monk, not 
satisfied, pressed the Indian to show him the mine from whence 
the treasure was drawn. The Indian consented, and on an ap 
pointed night he came, accompanied by two of his comrades, to 
the dwelling of the Franciscan. They blindfolded him, and 
each in turn carried him on his shoulders to a distance of several 
leagues, into the mountain passes. At length they set him down, 


and the bandage being removed from his eyes, he discovered that 
he v/as in a small and somewhat shallow shaft, and was sur 
rounded by bright masses of silver. He was allowed to take as 
much as he could carry, and when laden with the rich prize, he 
was again blindfolded, and conveyed home in the same manner 
as he had been brought to the mine. Whilst the Indians were 
conducting him home, he hit on the following stratagem. He 
unfastened his rosary, and here and there dropped one of the 
beads, hoping by this means to be enabled to trace his way back 
on the following day ; but in the course of a couple of hours his 
Indian friend again knocked at his door, and presenting to him a 
handful of beads, said, " Father, you dropped your rosary on the 
way, and I have picked it up." 

When I was in Jauja, in the year 1841, an Indian whom I had 
previously known, from his having accompanied me on one of 
my journeys in the Sierra, came to me and asked me to lend 
him a crow-bar. I did so, and after a few days, when he returned 
it, 1 observed that the end was covered with silver. Some time 
afterwards I learned that this Indian had been imprisoned by 
order of the sub-prefect, because he had offered for sale some 
very rich silver ore, and on being questioned as to where he had 
obtained it, his answer was that he found it on the road ; a tale, the 
truth of which was very naturally doubted. The following year, 
when I was again in Jauja, the Indian paid me another visit. 
He then informed me that he had been for several months confined 
in a dark dungeon and half-starved, because the sub-prefect 
wanted to compel him to reveal the situation of a mine which he 
knew of, but that he would not disclose the secret, and adhered 
firmly to the statement he had made of having found the ore. 
After a little further conversation, he became more communica 
tive than I had any reason to expect, though he was fully con- 
^ inced I would not betray him. He confessed to me that he 
actually knew of a large vein containing valuable silver, of 
which he showed me a specimen. He further told me that it 
was only when he was much in want of money that he had re 
course to the mine, of which the shaft was not very deep ; and, 
moreover, that after closing it up, he always carried the loose 
rubbish away to a distance of some miles, and then covered the 


opening so carefully with turf and cactus, that it was impossible 
for any one to discern it. This Indian dwelt in a miserable hut, 
about three leagues from Jauja, and his occupation was making 
wooden stirrups, which employment scarcely enabled him to earn 
a scanty subsistence. He assured me it was only when he was 
called upon to pay contributions, which the government exacts 
with merciless rigor, that he had recourse to the mine. He 
then extracted about half an aroba of ore, and sold it in Jauja, in 
order to pay the tax levied on him. 

I could quote many well-authenticated instances of the same 
kind ; but the above examples sufficiently prove the reluctance 
of the Indians to disclose the secret of their hidden treasures, 
and their indifference about obtaining wealth for themselves. It 
is true that the Indians are not, in all parts of the country, so 
resolutely reserved as they are in Huancayo and Jauja, for all 
the most important mines have been made known to the Spaniards 
by the natives. But the Peruvian Indians are composed of many 
different races, and though all were united by the Incas into one 
nation, yet they still differ from each other in manners and cha 
racter. The sentiment of hatred towards the whites and their 
descendants has not been kept up in an equal degree among them 
all. In proportion as some are friendly and social with the 
Creoles, others are reserved and distrustful. In general, the 
Indians regard with unfriendly feelings those whites who seek to 
trace out new mines ; for they cherish a bitter recollection of the 
fate of Huari Capcha, the discoverer of the mines of Cerro de 
Pasco, who, it is said, was thrown into a dungeon by the Spaniard, 
Ugarte, and ended his days in captivity. I have not met with 
any proofs of the authenticity of this story, but I frequently 
heard it related by the Indians, who referred to it as their justi 
fication for withholding from the whites any directions for finding 

But to return to Cerro de Pasco. That city has, by its wealth, 
become one of the most important in the Peruvian Republic; 
and under improved legislation, and a judicious mining system, 
it might be rendered still more prosperous and fully deserving of 
its title of " Treasury of Peru." Though from its situation Cerro 
de Pusco is cut off from the principal lines of communication with 


other parts of Peru, yet the city is itself the central point of four 
roads, on which there is considerable traffic. Westward runs the 
road to Lima, through the Quebrada of Canta, by which all the 
silver that is not contraband is transported to the capital. The 
silver, when melted into bars, is consigned to the care of the mule- 
drivers, merely on their giving a receipt for it ; and in this man 
ner they are sometimes entrusted with loads of the value of seve 
ral hundred thousand dollars, which they convey to Lima unat 
tended by any guards or escort. There is, however, no danger 
of their being plundered ; for the robbers do not take the stamped 
bars of silver. The silver specie, on the other hand, which is sent 
from Lima, is escorted by a military guard as far as Llanga or 
Santa Rosa de Quibe. The escort is not, however, very adequate 
to resist the highway robbers, consisting of numerous bands of 
armed negroes. On the east is the road running through the 
Quebrada de Huarriaca to the town of Huanuco and the Hualla- 
ga Forests. The road on the north of Cerro de Pasco leads to 
the village of Huanuco el Viejo, one of the most remarkable places 
of Peru, being full of interesting ruins of the time of the Incas. 
From Huanuco the road leads to Huaraz, and from thence to the 
north coast. The south road passes over the level heights to 
Tarma, Jauja, and the other southern provinces. 

From the village of Pasco two roads diverge, the one leading 
to Lima, the other to Tarma. The former crosses the Pampa of 
Bombon and the Diezmo, and continues onward to the Pass of La 
Viuda. The latter leads by way of the Tambo Ninacaca, and 
tfye village of Carhuamayo* to Junin, passing near a very large 
lake, situated at the height of 13,000 feet above the sea. This 
lake is the Laguna de Chinchaycocha,f which is twelve leagues 
long, and at its utmost breadth measures two leagues and a half. 
It is the largest of the South American lakes, next to the Laguna 
de Titicaca, which is eighty-four English miles long and forty- 
one broad. As the lake of Chinchaycocha loses by various out 
lets much more water than it receives from its tributary sources, 
it is evident that it must be fed by subterraneous springs. Its 
marshy banks are overgrown by totora (Malacochccie Totora), and 

* Ninacaca is 12,353 feet, and Carhuamayo 13,087 feet above the sea level 
| It is also called the Laguna de Reyes, and the Laguna de Junin. 


are inhabited by numerous water fowl. The Indians entertain 
a superstitious belief that this lake is haunted by huge, fish-like 
animals, who at certain hours of the night leave their watery 
abode to prowl about the adjacent pasture lands, where they com 
mit great havoc among the cattle. The southwestern end of the 
lake is intersected by a marshy piece of ground, interspersed 
with stones, called the Calzada, which forms a communication 
between the two banks of the lake. At the distance of about half 
a league from the lake is a village, which, under the Spanish 
domination, was called Reyes. Adjacent to it is the celebrated 
Pampa of Junin, which, on the 24th of August, 1824, was the 
scene of a battle between the Spanish forces, commanded by 
General Canterac, and the insurgents, headed by Don Simon 
Bolivar. The result of this battle had an important influence on 
the destiny of Peru. It is generally believed that treachery in 
the Spanish army threw the victory into the hands of the insur 
gents. A few days prior to the battle Bolivar is said to have re 
ceived, from the Spanish camp, a letter in cypher, which he 
transmitted for explanation to his minister, Monteagudo, in Cerro 
de Pasco. The answer received from the minister was, that the 
letter recommended Bolivar to attack the enemy without a mo 
ment s delay, for that on the part of the Spaniards the victory 
was insured to him. The bearer of the letter is still living, and 
he does not deny that he was in the secret of the whole plot. 
The insurgents were victorious, and in commemoration of their 
triumph they gave to the village of Reyes, and to the whole pro 
vince, the name of Junin, calling them after the plain on which 
the battle was fought. 

From Junin, the road runs to the distance of eight leagues 
across a difficult level height, to Cacas, a hamlet containing only 
a few huts. From thence, it is continued three leagues further, 
through several narrow Quebradas, and finally terminates in the 
beautiful valley of Tarma. 

Many of the Indians in the neighborhood of Cerro de Pasco, 
especially those who dwell in the Puna, in the direction of Cacas, 
infest the roads for the purpose of plunder. They conceal them 
selves behind the rocks, where they lie in wait for travellers, whom 
*hey severely wound, and sometimes even kill, by stones hurled 


from their slings. When great boyas occur in the mines of the 
Cerro, these roads are so unsafe that it is not prudent to travel, 
except in well-armed parties. The solitary traveller who seeks 
a night s lodging in one of the Puna huts, exposes himself to great 
peril ; for the host not unfrequently assassinates his sleeping guest. 
Nor is there much greater security in villages, such as Junin and 
Carhuamayo. Only a few years ago, the bodies of three 
travellers were found in the house of the Alcalde of Junin, the 
principal authority in the village. The travellers had sought 
shelter for the night, and were inhumanly murdered. Every 
year persons known to have been travelling in these parts, mys 
teriously disappear, and there is every reason to believe they have 
been murdered by the Indians. Many of these Indians are mine 
laborers, who, for their incorrigible turpitude, have been banished 
from the Cerro, and who live by pillage. 

I will close this chapter with a brief description of four-and- 
twenty hours which I passed during a journey in the wildest part 
of the Puna region. 

On the 12th of January, 1840, having passed the night in the 
hut of a Puna shepherd, I awoke next morning at day-break. 
The sun was just beginning to cast a light tinge of red on the 
snow-capped tops of the Cordillera. Through the aperture in 
the roof of the hut, which served the purpose of a chimney, 
there penetrated a feeble light, just sufficient to show the misery 
and poverty that prevailed in the interior of the habitation. I 
rose from the resting-place on which, only a few hours previous 
ly, I had stretched myself exhausted by cold and fatigue, and 
raising the cow-hide, which closed the doorway of the hut, I 
crept out to make preparations for the continuance of my jour 

I saddled my mule, and put into one of the saddle-bags a small 
supply of food. Whilst I was thus engaged, one of those fierce 
little dogs which are domiciled in every Indian hut, slily watched 
my movements ; and though he had rested at the foot of my bed 
during the night, yet he was only prevented, by the repeated 
threats of his master, from making an attack upon me. My In 
dian host handed me my gun ; I paid for my night s lodging by 
a few reals and some paper cigars ; and having asked him to di- 


rect me on my way, I rode off whilst he was expressing his gra 
titude, and his kind wishes in the words, " Dios lo pague ! " 

The sky was overhung by a thick mist, and the snow which 
had fallen during the night covered the ground as far as the eye 
could reach. On my way I met an old Indian woman driving 
her sheep. The bleating flock moved slowly on, leaving a deep 
furrow in the snow, and seeming impatient till the genial sun 
should dispel the mist and dissolve the white covering which over 
spread their scanty pasture. A little further on I met the son of 
this same Indian shepherdess. He and his dog were busily en 
gaged in catching partridges, destined to be sold on the following 
Sunday, in the nearest village. 

My road lay along a gentle acclivity, interspersed with rocks 
and swamps, which often obliged me to make wide detours. 
The swamps (or as the natives call them, Attoladeros) are dan 
gerous enemies to travellers in the Puna, who, with their horses 
and mules, sometimes sink into them and perish. Even in the 
most open parts of the country it is not easy to discern the 
swamps, and the ground often sinks beneath the rider where he 
least expects it. At length the sun began to disperse the mist, 
and the snow gradually melted beneath his burning rays. In 
spired with new vigor, I took a survey of the wild solitude around 
me. I was now on one of the level heights, about 14,000 feet 
above the sea. On both sides arose the high Cordillera summits 
crowned with eternal ice ; detached peaks here and there tower 
ing to the skies. Behind me lay, deep and deeper, the dark val 
leys of the lower mountain regions, which, with the scarcely dis 
cernible Indian villages, receded in the distance, till they blend 
ed with the line of the horizon. Before me stretched the immea 
surable extent of the level heights, at intervals broken by ridges 
of hills. It seemed as though here, in the snow plains of the 
Cordillera, Nature had breathed out her last breath. Here life 
and death meet together as it were to maintain the eternal strug 
gle between being and annihilation. 

How little life had the sun yet wakened around me ! The 
dull yellow Puna grass, scarcely the length of one s finger, 
blended its tint with the greenish hue of the glaciers. Advan. 
cing further on my onward course, how joyfully I greeted as 


old acquaintance the purple gentiana and the brown calceolaria ! 
With what pleasure I counted the yellow blossoms of the echino- 
cactus ! and presently the sight of the ananas-cactus pictured in my 
mind all the luxuriance of the primeval forests. These cacti were 
growing amidst rushes and mosses and syngeneses, which the frost 
had changed to a rusty brown hue. Not a butterfly fluttered in 
the rarefied atmosphere ; no fly nor winged insect of any kind was 
discernible. A beetle or a toad creeping from their holes, or a 
lizard warming himself in the sun, are all that reward the search 
of the naturalist. 

As I journeyed onward, animate life awakened in rich variety 
around me. Birds, few in species, but numerous in individuals, 
everywhere met my view. Herds of vicunas approached me 
with curious gaze, and then on a sudden fled with the swiftness 
of the wind. In the distance I observed stately groups of hua- 
nacus turning cautiously to look at me, and then passing on. 
The Puna stag (tarush) slowly advanced from his lair in the 
mountain recesses, and fixed on me his large, black, wondering 
eyes ; whilst the nimble rock rabbits (viscachas) playfully dis 
ported and nibbled the scanty herbage growing in the mountain 

I had wandered for some hours admiring the varieties of life 
in this peculiar alpine region, when I stumbled against a dead 
mule. The poor animal had probably sunk beneath his burthen, 
and had been left by his driver to perish of cold and hunger. My 
presence startled three voracious condors, which were feeding on 
the dead carcass. These kings of the air proudly shook their 
crowned heads, and darted at me furious glances with their 
blood-red eyes. Two of them rose on their giant wings, and in 
narrowing circles hovered threateningly above my head, whilst the 
third, croaking fiercely, kept guard over the booty. I cocked my 
gun in readiness for defence, and cautiously rode past the mena 
cing group, without the least desire of further disturbing their 
banquet. These condors were the only hostile animals I encoun 
tered in this part of the Puna. 

It was now two o clock in the afternoon, and I had ridden on a 
continuous though gradual ascent since sunrise. My panting 
mule slackened his pace, and seemed unwilling to mount a rather 


steep ascent which we had now arrived at. To relieve him I dis 
mounted, and began walking at a rapid pace. But I soon felt 
the influence of the rarefied atmosphere, and I experienced an 
oppressive sensation which I had never known before. I stood 
still for a few moments to recover myself, and then tried to ad 
vance ; but an indescribable oppression overcame me. My 
heart throbbed audibly ; my breathing was short and interrupted. 
A world s weight seemed to lie upon my chest; my lips swellei 
and burst ; the capillary vessels of my eyelids gave way, and 
blood flowed from them. In a few moments my senses began 
to leave me. I could neither see, hear, nor feel distinctly. A 
grey mist floated before my eyes, and I felt myself involved in 
that struggle between life and death which, a short time before, 
I fancied I could discern on the face of nature. Had all the riches 
of earth, or the glories of heaven, awaited me a hundred feet 
higher, I could not have stretched out my hand towards them. 

In this half senseless state I lay stretched on the ground, until 
I felt sufficiently recovered to remount my mule. One of the 
Puna storms was now gathering, thunder and lightning accom 
panied a heavy fall of snow, which very soon lay a foot deep 
on the ground. In a short time I discovered that I had missed 
my way. Had I then known the Puna as well as I afterwards 
did, I should have shaped my course by the flight of birds. But 
unluckily I pursued the fresh track of a herd of vicunas, which 
led me directly into a swamp. My mule sank, and was unable 
to extricate himself. I was almost in despair. Nevertheless, I 
cautiously alighted, and with incredible difficulty I succeeded in 
digging out with a dagger the mud in which the animal s legs 
were firmly fixed, and at length I got him back to a solid footing. 
After wandering about in various directions, I at length reco 
vered the right path, which was marked by numerous skeletons 
protruding above the snow. These were the remains of beasts 
of burthen, which had perished on their journeys ; a welcome, 
though an ominous guide to the wandering traveller. The 
clouds now suddenly separated, and the blazing light of the tropi 
cal sun glared dazzlingly on the white plain of snow. In a 
moment I felt my eyes stricken with surumpe. 

Suffering the most violent pain, and tormented by the appre- 


hension of blindness, I with great difficulty pursued my way. 
My mule could scarcely wade through the sward, which was 
becoming more and more thick ; and night was advancing. I 
had lost all feeling in my feet, my benumbed fingers could 
scarcely hold the bridle, and I well knew that the nearest point 
at which I could obtain the shelter of a human habitation was 
eight German miles distant. I was beginning to give myself up 
for lost, when I observed a cave beneath an overhanging rock. 
Mother Nature, in whose service I had undertaken my long and 
perilous wanderings, at that critical juncture, provided for me a 
retreat, though in one of her rudest sheltering places. I entered 
the cave, which protected me securely against the wind and the 
snow. Having unsaddled my mule, I made a bed of my saddle 
clothes and poncho. I tied the animal to a stone, and whilst he 
eagerly regaled himself with the little grass that was not buried 
beneath the snow, I satisfied my hunger with some roasted maize 
and cheese. 

Exhausted by the fatigue of the day, I lay down to sleep ; but 
no sooner had I fallen into a slumber, than I was awaked by a 
violent smarting in my eyes, occasioned by the surumpe. There 
was no longer any hope of sleep. The night seemed endless. 
When the dawn of morning appeared, I made an effort to open 
my eyes, which were closed with coagulated blood. On look- 
ing around me I beheld all the horror of my situation. A hu 
man corpse had served for my pillow. Shuddering I went in 
search of my mule, for I was eager to hurry from this dismal 
spot ; but my misery was not yet at an end. The poor beast 
lay dead on the ground ; in his ravenous hunger he had eaten 
of the poisonous garlancillo. What could I do ! In despair I 
turned back to the cave. 

The sun had now fully risen, and his genial rays diffused 
warmth over this frozen region. Somewhat roused by the re 
viving light and life around me, I began to examine the body of 
my lifeless companion. Haply, thought I, he may be one of my 
own race ; a traveller who has perished of cold and hunger. 
No. He was a half-caste Indian, and many deadly wounds on 
his head showed that he had died of the slings of Indian robbers, 


who had stripped him even of his clothes, and concealed the body 
in the cave. 

I seized my gun and shot a rock nbbit, then collecting eomt 
fuel, I kindled a fire, and roasted the little animal, which af 
forded me a no very savory breakfast. I then waited patiently 
in the hope that some timely help would deliver me from my 
dreary situation. 

It was about noon. I heard a monotonous short cry. With 
joy I recognized the well-known sound. I climbed up the near 
est rock, and looking down into a hollow, I perceived two In 
dians whom I had seen the day before, driving their llamas to 
the nearest mine works. I prevailed on them, by the gift of a 
little tobacco, to let me have one of their llamas to carry my 
luggage, and having strewed a few handfuls of earth on the 
corpse of the murdered man, I departed. The scene of the in 
cidents above described was the Cave of LefUs, in the Altos 
which lead southward to the Quebrada of Huaitara. 



The Sierra Its Climate and Productions Inhabitants Trade Eggs cir 
culated as money Mestizos in the Sierra Their Idleness and Love of 
Gaming and Betting Agriculture The Quinua Plant, a substitute for 
Potatoes Growth of Vegetables and Fruits in the Sierra Rural Festi 
vals at the Seasons of Sowing and Reaping Skill of the Indians in various 
Handicrafts Excess of Brandy-Drinking Chicha Disgusting mode of 
making it Festivals of Saints Dances and Bull-Fighls Celebration of 
Christmas-Day, New- Year s Day, Palm Sunday, and Good Friday 
Contributions levied on the Indians Tardy and Irregular Transmission 
of Letters Trade in Mules General Style of Building in the Towns 
and Villages of the Sierra Ceja de la Montana. 

THE Peruvian highlands, or level heights, described in a pre 
vious chapter under the designation of the Puna, are intersected 
by numerous valleys situated several thousand feet lower than 
the level heights, from which they totally differ in character and 
aspect. These valleys are called the Sierra. The inhabitants 
of Lima usually comprehend under the term Sierra, the whole 
interior of Peru, and every Indian who is not an inhabitant of the 
coast, or of the forest regions, is called by them a Serrano. But 
strictly speaking, the Sierra includes only the valleys between 
the Cordillera and the Andes, and I shall here use the term in its 
more limited and proper sense. 

In the Sierra there are only two seasons throughout the year. 
The winter or rainy season commences in October; but the 
rains are neither so heavy nor so continuous as in the forest dis 
tricts. The falls of rain seldom last longer than two or three 
days in succession. Storms of thunder and lightning are very 
frequent in the Sierra ; they are not accompanied by snow as in 
the Puna, but often by hail. The thermometer never falls 
below + 4 R., and during the daytime it is on the average at + 
11 R. In April the summer season sets in, bringing wiih it ail 


uninterrupted succession of warm bright days. The nights in 
summer are colder than in winter. In a summer night the 
thermometer will sometimes fall below freezing point, and the 
cold is often very severe. About noon the heat is oppressive, 
though the average heat of the day does not exceed 13, 9 R. 
During the summer season the horizon is frequently obscured by 
heavy dark clouds, which seldom break over the valleys, but 
continue frowning over the hills. The natives call these porten 
tous clouds Misti Manchari (terror of the whites),* because the 
inhabitants of the coast always regard them as indicative of 
stormy weather. 

The climate of the Sierra favors the natural fruitfulness of the 
soil, which richly repays the labor of the husbandman ; but 
plants, peculiar to the warm tropical regions, do not thrive well 
here. Prior to the European emigration to Peru, only maize, 
quinua (Chenopodium Quinoa, L.), and a few tuberous roots were 
grown in the Sierra ; but since the Spanish conquest, the Euro 
pean cereals, lucerne, and various kinds of vegetables are culti 
vated with perfect success. But the eye of the traveller seeks 
in vain for those stately forests which clothe the mountainous 
districts of Europe ; the barren acclivities afford nurture only 
for the agave-tree, and some very large species of cactus. 
Groups of willow trees (Satix}, which attain the 
height of about twenty or twenty-five feet, together with the 
quinua-tree, form here and there little thickets on the banks of 

These regions, so favored by nature, have from the earliest 
period been the chosen dwelling-places of the Peruvians ; and 
therefore in the Sierra, which, measured by its superficies, is not 
of very great extent, the population has increased more than in 
any other part of Peru. The valleys already contain numerous 
towns, villages, and hamlets, which would rise in importance, 
if they had greater facility of communication one with another. 
But they are surrounded on all sides by mountains, which can 
be crossed only by circuitous and dangerous routes. The few 

* The Indians apply the designation Misti, meaning Mestizo, to all 
persons except Indians or Negroes, whether they be Europeans or White 


TRADE. 55 

accessible pathways are alternately up rugged ascents, and 
down steep declivities ; or winding through narrow ravines, 
nearly choked up by broken fragments of rock, they lead to the 
dreary and barren level heights. 

The Serranos, or inhabitants of the Sierra, especially those 
who dwell in the smaller villages, are chiefly Indians. In the 
towns and larger villages, the mestizos are numerous. The 
whites are very thinly scattered over the Sierra ; but many of 
the mestizos are very anxious to be thought white Creoles. A 
rich serrano, who bears in his features the stamp of his Indian 
descent, will frequently try to pass himself off to a foreigner for 
an old Spaniard. Here, even more than on the coast, the 
mestizo is ambitious to rank himself on a level with the white, 
whilst he affects to regard the Indian as an inferior being. 

The few Spaniards who reside in the Sierra are men who have 
served in the Spanish army, and who, at the close of the war of 
independence, settled in that part of Peru. Many of them keep 
shops in the towns and villages, and others, by advantageous 
marriages, have become the possessors of haciendas. Those 
who have enriched themselves in this way are remarkable alike 
for ignorance and pride, and give themselves the most ludicrous 
airs of assumed dignity. The Creoles are the principal dealers 
in articles of European commerce. They journey to Lima 
twice or thrice a year to make their purchases, which consist in 
white and printed calicoes, woollen cloths, hard-wares, leather, 
soap, wax, and indigo. In the Sierra, indigo is a very considera 
ble article of traffic : the Indians use a great quantity of it for 
dyeing their clothes ; blue being their favorite color. Wax is 
also in great demand ; for in the religious ceremonies, which are 
almost of daily occurrence, a vast quantity of tapers is con 
sumed. The principal articles of traffic produced by the 
natives are woollen ponchos and blankets, unspun colored wool, 
saddle-cloths, stirrups and horseshoes. The last-named articles 
are purchased chiefly by the arrieros of the coast. It may 
seem strange that stores of horseshoes should be kept ready 
made ; but so it is ; for though in Europe we make the shoe to 
lit the hoof, yet in Peru it is the practice to cut the hoof to fit the 
shoe. On Yea brandy more money is expended than on every 


other article of trade combined. The quantity of that spirit 
annually transported to the Sierra exceeds belief. To see the 
Indians on Sundays and festival days thronging to the shops of 
the spirit dealers, with their jugs and bottles, one might fairly 
presume that more brandy is drunk in the Sierra in one day, 
than in many of the towns of Europe in a year. In some parts 
for example, in the province of Jauja hens eggs are circu 
lated as small coin, forty-eight or fifty being counted for a 
dollar. In the market-place and in the shops the Indians make 
most of their purchases with this brittle sort of money : one will 
give two or three eggs for brandy, another for indigo, and a third 
for cigars. These eggs are packed in boxes by the shop-keepers, 
and sent to Lima. From Jauja alone, several thousand loads of 
eggs are annually forwarded to the capital. 

Most of the mestizos possess little estates (chacras\ the produce 
of which, consisting of grain, vegetables and clover, is disposed 
of in the towns of the Sierra, or in the mining districts of the 
Puna. As the profits arising from the chacras usually suffice 
to provide their owners with a comfortable subsistence, the 
mestizos pass their lives in idleness and pleasure. They spend 
the chief portion of the day in the true Spanish style, gossiping 
in groups in the streets, and wrapped in their mantles. When 
the state of the weather does not admit of this sort of out-door 
lounging the time is passed in gaming or cock-fighting. This 
latter diversion is no less in favor in the Sierra than in Lima. 
Such enormous bets are laid at these cock-fights, that the losses 
frequently entail ruin on persons of tolerably good fortune. 

The agriculture of the Sierra is wholly consigned to the In- 
dians, who either cultivate their own lands, or for very poor 
wages labor for the mestizos. In September, the ground is 
ploughed and prepared for sowing, which operation is performed 
in October, and the reaping takes place in April or May. By 
this means the seed is left in the ground throughout all the rainy 
season. In February violent frost frequently comes on during 
the night, by which the seed is so much injured that the harvest 
fails, and the scarcity occasions severe suffering and even famine. 
When the cold clear nights create apprehensions of damage to 
the seed, the people form themselves into processions, and go 


through the villages and tew ns imploring the mercy of Heaven. 
In the dead of the night it is no unusual thing to be aroused by 
the ringing of bells. The inhabitants then get up and hurry to 
church, where the solemn processions are formed. Penitents 
clothed in sackcloth go through the streets, scourging themselves ; 
and the Indians, in their native language, utter prayers and offer 
up vows to Heaven. For the space of some hours an incessant 
movement and agitation pervade the streets, and when day begins 
to dawn the people return to their homes, trembling between hope 
and fear. The fate of the Indians, when their harvest fails 
them, is indeed truly miserable, for, abstemious as they are, they 
can scarcely procure wherewith to satisfy their hunger. In the 
year 1840, which was a period of scarcity, I saw the starving 
Indian children roaming about the fields, and eating the grass 
like cattle. 

Maize is the species of grain most extensively cultivated in 
the Sierra : it is of excellent quality, though smaller than that 
grown on the coast. Wheat, though it thrives well, is cultivated 
only in a very limited quantity, and the bread made from it is 
exceedingly bad. The other species of European grain, barley 
excepted, are unknown to the Serranos. To compensate for the 
want of them, they have the quinua (Chenopodium Quinoa, L.), 
which is at once a nutritious, wholesome, and pleasant article of 
food. The leaves of this plant, before it attains full maturity, 
are eaten like spinach ; but it is the seeds which are most gene 
rally used as food. They are prepared in a variety of ways, but 
most frequently boiled in milk or in broth, and sometimes cooked 
with cheese and Spanish pepper. The dried stems of the quinua 
are used as fuel. Experiments in the cultivation of this plant 
have been tried in some parts of Germany, and with considerable 
success. It would appear, however, that its flavor is not much 
liked ; a circumstance rather surprising to the traveller who has 
tasted it in Peru, where it is regarded in the light of a delicacy. 
It were to be wished that the general cultivation of the quinua 
could be introduced throughout Europe ; for during the preva 
lence of the potatoe disease this plant would be found of the 
greatest utility. It is a well-known fact that potatoes and tea, two 
articles now in such universal use, were not liked on their first 


introduction into Europe. The quinua plant, which yields a 
wholesome article of food, would thrive perfectly in our hemi 
sphere, and, though in its hitherto limited trial it has not found 
favor, there is no reason to conclude that it may not at a future 
time become an object of general consumption. 

Four kinds of tuberous plants are successfully cultivated in 
the Sierra ; viz., the potatoe, the ulluco, the oca, and the mashua. 
Of potatoes there are several varieties, and all grow in perfection. 
The uliuco (Tropaolum tuberosum) is smaller than the potatoe, 
and is very various in its form, being either round, oblong, 
straight, or curved. The skin is thin, and of a reddish-yellow 
color, and the inside is green. When simply boiled in water it 
is insipid, but is very savory when cooked as a picante. The oca 
(Oxalis tubcrosa) is an oval-shaped root; the skin pale red, and 
the inside white. It is watery, and has a sweetish taste ; for 
which reason it is much liked by the Peruvians. The mashua 
is the root of a plant as yet unknown to botanists. It is cultivat 
ed and cooked in the same manner as those already described. 
In form, however, it differs from them all. It is of a flat pyra 
midal shape, and the lower end terminates in a fibrous point. It 
is watery, and insipid to the taste ; but is nevertheless much 
eaten by the Serranos. As the mashua roots will not keep, they 
are not transported from the places in which they are grown, 
and, therefore, are not known in Lima. The Indians use the 
mashua as a medicine : they consider it an efficacious remedy in 
cases of dropsy, indigestion, and dysentery. 

The vegetables and fruits of Europe thrive luxuriantly in the 
warm Sierra valleys ; yet but few of them have been trans 
planted thither, and those few are but little esteemed. Some of 
the cabbage and salad species, together with onions, garlic, and 
several kinds of pulse, are all that are cultivated. It is remark 
able that in these regions no indigenous fruit-trees are to be seen. 
The only fruit really belonging to the Sierra is the Tuna. In 
some of the sheltered ravines, or, as they are called, Quebradas, 
oranges, lemons, and granadillas flourish at the height of 10,000 
feet above sea level. The fruits which have been transplanted 
from Europe are for the most part indifferent, as not the least 
care is bestowed on their cultivation. The effect of this neglect 


is particularly obvious in apples, pears, and damson-plums. 
Cherries and chestnuts are unknown in these parts; but on the 
other hand, peaches and apricots (duraznos) grow in amazing 
abundance, and many very fine species are found, especially in 
the southern provinces. Excursions to the duraznales (apricot 
gardens), in the months of April and May, to eat the ripe fruit 
fresh plucked from the trees, are among the most favorite recre 
ations of the Serranos. Some of the Sierra districts are celebrated 
throughout Peru for their abundance of fruit. This luxuriance 
is particularly remarkable in several of the deep valleys, for in 
stance, in Huanta ; but, strictly speaking, these deep valleys 
partake less of the character of the Sierra than of the higher 
forest regions. 

The periods of sowing and reaping are celebrated by the Indi 
ans with merry-making, a custom which has descended from the 
time of the Incas, when those periods corresponded with the two 
great divisions of the year. Even a scanty harvest, an event of 
frequent occurrence, occasions no interruption to these rustic 
festivals. Bands of music, consisting of trumpets, fiddles, and 
flutes, play whilst the corn is cut down, and during their work, 
the laborers freely regale themselves with chicha, huge barrels 
of which are placed for their unrestrained use. The consequence 
is, that they are almost continually intoxicated ; and yet whilst 
in this state it is no unusual thing to see them dancing with heavy 
loads of sheaves on their heads. Their dinner is cooked in the 
fields, in large pots and kettles, and to partake of it they all sit 
down on the ground in rows, one behind another. The wheat 
and barley when cut are spread out in little heaps on the ground, 
and, instead of thrashing, the grain is pressed out of the ears by 
the tramping of horses, the animals being driven round and round 
in a circle. As soon as this process is ended, the agents of the 
Government and the priests make their appearance to claim the 

In the larger villages and towns of the Sierra, the Indians 
frequently employ themselves in handicrafts, in some of which 
they attain a high degree of perfection, for they are not wanting 
eiilur in talent or in mechanical dexterity. As goldsmiths they are 
remarkably skilful, and in this branch of industry they produce 


work which, for taste and exquisite finish, cannot be excelled in 
the capitals of Europe. The various kinds of vessels and figures 
of silver wire (Jiligranas^, rnade by the cholos in Ayacucho, have 
always been favorite articles of ornament in Spain. The Indians 
of Jauja are very skilful in working iron, and the objects of their 
workmanship are much esteemed throughout Peru. Of leather 
also they make various things in very beautiful style ; and saddle 
cloths, bridles, &c., of their manufacture are much more elegant 
and infinitely cheaper than those made in Lima. In Cuzco and 
the adjacent provinces many of the Indians evince considerable 
talent in oil-painting. Their productions in this way are, of 
course, far from being master-pieces ; but when we look on the 
paintings which decorate their churches, and reflect that the art 
ists have been shut out from the advantages of education and 
study ; and moreover, when we consider the coarse materials 
with which the pictures have been painted, it must be acknow 
ledged that they indicate a degree of talent, which, if duly culti 
vated, would soar far above mediocrity. In Tarma and its 
neighborhood the natives weave an exquisitely fine description of 
woollen cloth. They make ponchos of vicuna wool, which sell 
for 100 or 120 dollars each, and which are equal to the finest 
European cloth. The beauty of these Indian textures is truly 
wonderful, considering the rude process of weaving practised by 
the natives. They work various colors, figures, and inscriptions 
in the cloth, and do all this with a rapidity which equals the 
operations of ordinary looms. The most valuable textures they 
weave are those produced from the wool of the vicuna and the 
alpaco. They likewise make very fine textures of cotton and 
silk. It is curious that the Indians of each province have some 
particular branch of industry to which they exclusively apply 
themselves, to the neglect of all others. 

The Serranos are a very sociable people. In the towns they 
keep up a continual round of evening parties, in which singing 
and dancing are favorite amusements ; but on these occasions 
they indulge in brandy-drinking to a terrible excess. As soon as 
a party is assembled, bottles and glasses are introduced, and each 
individual, ladies as well as gentlemen, drinks to the health of 
the company. For a party of thirty or more persons, not more 


than three or four glasses are brought in, so that one glass is 
passed repeatedly from hand to hand, and from mouth to mouth. 
The quantity of brandy drunk at one of the evening parties called 
in the Sierra Jaranas, is almost incredible. According to my 
observation, I should say that a bottle to each individual, ladies 
included, is a fair average estimate, the bottles being of the size 
of those used in Europe for claret. In the year 1839, whilst I 
was residing for a time in one of the largest towns of the Sierra, 
a ball was given in honor of the Chilian General Bulnes; on that 
occasion the brandy flowed in such quantities, that, when morn 
ing came, some members of the company were found lying on 
the floor of the ball-room in a state of intoxication. These facts 
naturally create an impression very unfavorable to the inhabit 
ants of the Sierra ; but a due allowance must be made for the 
want of education and the force of habit on the part of those who 
fall into these excesses. These people possess so many excellent 
moral qualities, that it would be unjust to condemn them solely 
on account of these orgies. The Serrano is far from being ad 
dicted to habitual drunkenness, notwithstanding his intemperate 
use of strong drinks amidst the excitement of company. 

But if the vice of excessive drinking be occasionally indulged 
in among the better class of people of the Sierra, it is much more 
frequent among the Indian inhabitants. Every one of their 
often-recurring festivals is celebrated by a drinking bout, at 
which enormous quantities of brandy and chicha are consumed. 
In some districts of the Sierra the chicha is prepared in a peculiar 
and very disgusting manner by the Indians. Instead of crushing 
the jora (dried maize-grain) between two stones, which is the 
usual method, the Indians bruise it with their teeth. For this 
purpose a group of men and women range themselves in a circle 
round a heap of jora ; each gathers up a handful, chews it, and 
then ejects it from the mouth into a vessel allotted for its recep 
tion. This mass, after being boiled in water, and left to ferment, 
is the much admired chicha mascada (that is to say, chewed chicha), 
the flavor of which is said to surpass that of the same beverage 
made in any other way. But they who have been eye-witnesses 
of the disgusting process, and who bear in mind various other 
preparations of Indian cookery in which the teeth perform a 


part, require some fortitude ere they yield to the pressing invita 
tion of the hospitable Serrano, and taste the proffered nectar. 

When it is wished to make the chicha particularly strong and 
well flavored, it is poured into an earthen jar along with several 
pounds of beef. This jar is made perfectly air-tight, and buried 
several feet deep in the ground, where it is left for the space of 
several years. On the birth of a child it is customary to bury a 
I otija full of chicha, which, on the marriage of the same child, is 
opened and drunk. This chicha has a very agreeable flavor, but 
is so exceedingly potent, that a single glass of it is sufficient to 
intoxicate a practised chicha. drinker, or, as they say in the coun 
try, a chichero. 

Every village in the Sierra has its own tutelary saint, whose 
festival is celebrated with great solemnity. Bull-fights and 
dances constitute the principal diversions on these occasions. 
These dances are relics of the Raymi or monthly dances, by 
which the Incas used to mark the divisions of time ; and they 
are among the most interesting customs peculiar to these parts of 
Peru. The dancers wear dresses similar to those worn by the 
ancient Peruvians when they took part in the Raymi. Their 
faces and arms are painted in various colors, and they wear 
feather caps and feather ponchos. They have bracelets and 
nnklets, and they are armed with clubs, wooden swords, and 
bows and arrows. Their music, too, is also similar to that of 
their forefathers. Their instruments consist of a sort of pipe or 
flute made of reed, and a drum composed simply of a hoop with 
a skin stretched upon it. To the inharmonious sound of these 
instruments, accompanying monotonous Quichua songs, the dances 
commence with those solemn movements with which the Incas 
used to worship the sun : they then suddenly assume a more 
joyous character, and at last change to the wild war-dance, in 
which the mimic contest, stimulated by copious libations of chi 
cha, frequently ends in a real fight. In the larger towns, where 
the Mestizo portion of the population predominates, these dances 
are discouraged, and in course of time they will probably be en 
tirely discontinued, though they are scrupulously adhered to by 
the Indians. 

On festival days, bull-fights constitute the most favorite popu- 


lar diversion. In the Sierra this barbarous sport is conducted 
with even more recklessness and cruelty than in the Corridas of 
Lima. Every occasion on which an entertainment of this sort 
takes place is attended with loss of life, and sometimes the sacri 
fice both of men and horses is very considerable. During my 
residence in Jauja, fourteen Indians and nineteen horses were 
killed or seriously wounded in a bull-fight ; yet catastrophes of 
this kind appear to make no impression on the people. 

Some of the church festivals are celebrated by the Indians of 
the Sierra, in a manner which imparts a -peculiar coloring to the 
religious solemnities. In the midnight mass on Christmas Eve, 
they imitate in the churches the sounds made by various animals. 
The singing of birds, the crowing of cocks, the braying of asses, 
the bleating of sheep, &c., are simulated so perfectly, that a 
stranger is inclined to believe that the animals have assembled 
in the temple to participate in the solemnity. At the termination 
of the mass, troops of women perambulate the streets, during the 
remainder of the night. Their long black hair flows loosely 
over their bare shoulders ; and in their hands they carry poles 
with long fluttering strips of paper fixed to the ends of them. 
They occasionally dance and sing peculiarly beautiful melodies, 
accompanied by a harp, a fiddle, and a flute ; and they mark the 
measure of the music by the movement of their poles. 

The celebration of Christmas-day is marked by the appear 
ance of what are termed the Negritos. These are Indians, with 
their faces concealed by hideous negro masks. Their dress con 
sists of a loose red robe, richly wrought with gold and silver 
thread, white pantaloons, and their hats are adorned with waving 
black feathers. In their hands they carry gourd bottles, painted 
in various gay colors, and containing dried seeds. Whilst they 
sing, the Negritos shake these gourds, and mark the time by the 
rattling of the dried seeds. They perform the dances of the 
Guinea negroes, and imitate the attitudes and language of a race 
which they hold in abhorrence and contempt. For the space of 
three days and nights these negritos parade the streets, entering 
the houses and demanding chicha and brandy, with which the 
inhabitants are glad to supply them, to avoid violence and insult. 

On New Year s Day other groups of mummers, called Corco. 


bados, perambulate the streets. They are enveloped in cloaks 
of coarse grey woollen cloth, their head-gear consists of an old 
vicuna hat, with a horse s tail dangling behind. Their features 
are disguised by ludicrous masks with long beards ; and, bestrid 
ing long sticks or poles, they move about accompanied by bur 
lesque music. Every remarkable incident that has occurred in 
the families of the town during the course of the year, is mado 
the subject of a song in the Quichua language ; and these songs 
are sung in the streets by the Corcobados. Matrimonial quarrels 
are favorite subjects, and are always painted with high comic 
effect in these satirical songs. The Corcobados go about for two 
days ; and they usually wind up their performances by drinking 
and fighting. When two groups of these Corcobados meet to 
gether, and the one party assails with ridicule anything which 
the other is disposed to defend, a terrible affray usually ensues, 
and the sticks which have served as hobby-horses, are converted 
into weapons of attack. 

In order to facilitate the conversion of the idolatrous Indians, 
the Spanish monks who accompanied Pizarro s army, sought to 
render the Christian religion as attractive as possible in the eyes 
of the heathen aborigines of Peru. With this view they conceived 
the idea of dramatizing certain scenes in the life of Christ, and 
having them represented in the churches. In the larger towns 
these performances have long since been discontinued, but they 
are still kept up in most of the villages of the Sierra ; indeed the 
efforts made by enlightened ecclesiastics for their suppression, 
have been met with violent opposition on the part of the Indians. 

On Palm Sunday, an image of the Saviour seated on an ass is 
paraded about the principal streets of the town or village. The 
Indians strew twigs of palm over the animal, and contend one 
with another for the honor of throwing their ponchos down on the 
ground, in order that the ass may walk over them. The animal 
employed in this ceremony is, when very young, singled out for 
the purpose, and is never suffered to carry any burthen save the 
holy image. He is fed by the people, and at every door at which 
he stops, the inmates of the house pamper him up with the best 
fodder they can procure. The ass is looked upon as something 
almost sacred, and is never named by any other appellation that 


the Burro dc Nuesiro SeTwr (our Lord s ass). In some villages 
I have seen these animals so fat that they were scarcely able to 

Good Friday is solemnized in a manner the effect of which, to the 
unprejudiced foreigner, is partly burlesque and partly seriously 
impressive. From the early dawn of morning the church is 
thronged with Indians, who spend the day in fasting and prayer. 
A.t two in the afternoon a large image of the Saviour is brought 
from the sacristy and laid down in front of the altar. Immediately 
all the persons in the church rush forward with pieces of cotton 
to touch the wounds. This gives rise to a struggle, in which 
angry words and blows are interchanged ; in short, there ensues 
a disgraceful scene of uproar, which is only checked by the 
interposition of one of the priests. Order being restored, the 
sacred image is fixed on the cross by three very large silvei 
nails, and the head is encircled by a rich silver crown. On each 
side are the crosses of the two thieves. Having gaped at this 
spectacle to their hearts content, the cholos retire from the 
church. At eight in the evening they reassemble to witness the 
solemn ceremony of taking down the Saviour from the cross. 
The church is then brilliantly lighted up. At the foot of the 
cross stand four white-robed priests, called los Santos Varones 
(the holy men), whose office it is to take down the image. At a 
little distance from them, on a sort of stage or platform, stands a 
figure representing the Virgin Mary. This figure is dressed in 
black, with a white cap on its head. A priest, in a long dis 
course, explains the scene to the assembled people, and at the 
close of the address, turning to the Santos Varones, he says, " Ye 
holy men, ascend the ladders of the cross, and bring down the 
body of the Redeemer !" Two of the Santos Varones mount with 
hammers in their hands, and the priest then says, " Ye holy man, 
on the right of the Saviour, strike the first blow on the nail of the 
hand, and take it out !" The command is obeyed, and no sooner 
is the stroke of the hammer heard, than deep groans and sounds 
of anguish resound through the church ; whilst the cry of 
" Misericordia ! misericordia /" repeated by a thousand implor 
ing voices, produces an indescribable sensation of awe and 
melancholy. The nail is handed to one of the priests standing 


at the foot of the altar, who transfers it to another, and this one 
in his turn presents it to the figure of the Virgin. To that figure 
the priest then turns and addresses himself, saying : " Thou 
afflicted mother, approach and receive the nail which pierced 
the right hand of thy holy Son !" The priest steps forward a 
fen paces, and the figure, by some concealed mechanism, advan 
ces to meet him, receives the nail with both hands, lays it on a 
silver plate, dries its eyes, and then returns to its place in the 
middle of the platform. The same ceremony is repeated when 
the two other nails are taken out. Throughout the whole per 
formance of these solemnities, an uninterrupted groaning and 
howling is kept up by the Indians, who at every stroke of the 
hammer raise their cries of Misericordia ! These sounds of 
anguish reach their climax when the priest consigns the body of 
the Saviour to the charge of the Virgin. The image is laid in a 
coffin tastefully adorned with flowers, which, together with the 
figure of the Virgin Mary, is paraded through the streets. Whilst 
this nocturnal procession, lighted by thousands of wax tapers, is 
making the circuit of the town, a party of Indians busy themselves 
in erecting before the church door twelve arches decorated with 
flowers. Between every two of the arches they lay flowers on the 
ground, arranging them in various figures and designs. These 
flower-carpets are singularly ingenious and pretty. Each one is 
the work of two cholos, neither of whom seems to bestow any 
attention to what his comrade is doing ; and yet, with a wonder 
ful harmony of operation, they create the most tasteful designs 
arabesques, animals, and landscapes, which grow, as it were by 
magic, under their hands. Whilst I was in Tarma, I was at 
once interested and astonished to observe on one of these flower- 
carpets the figure of the Austrian double eagle. On inquiry I 
learned from an Indian that it had been copied from the quick 
silver jars, exported from Idria to Peru. On the return of the 
procession to the church, a hymn, with harp accompaniment, is 
sung to the Virgin, as the figure is carried under the arches of 
flowers. The bier of the Saviour is then deposited in the church, 
where it is watched throughout the night. 

On the following morning, at four o clock, the ceremony of 
hanging Judas takes place in front of the church. A figure of 


Judas, the size of life, is filled with squibs and crackers, and is 
frequently made to bear a resemblance to some obnoxious inha 
bitant of the place. After the match is applied to the combusti 
ble figure, the cholos dance around it, and exult in the blowing 
up of their enemy. 

In the Sierra, as well as on the coast, the priests are usually 
the tyrants rather than the guardians of their flocks ; and they 
would frequently be the objects of hatred and vengeance but 
for the deep-rooted and almost idolatrous reverence which the 
Indians cherish for priestcraft. It is disgusting to see the Peru 
vian priests, who usually treat the Indians like brutes, behaving 
with the most degrading servility when they want to get money 
from them. The love of the Indians for strong drinks is a vice 
which the priests turn to their own advantage. For the sake of 
the fees they frequently order religious festivals, which are joy 
fully hailed by the Indians, because they never fail to end in 
drinking bouts. 

Added to the ill treatment of the priests, the Indians are most 
unjustly oppressed by the civil authorities. In the frequent 
movements of troops from one place to another, they are exposed 
to great losses and vexations. They are compelled to perform 
DtNtiiardest duties without payment, and often the produce of 
their fields is laid under contribution, or their horses and mules 
are pressed into the service of the military. When intelligence 
is received of the march of a battalion, the natives convey their 
cattle to some remote place of concealment in the mountains, for 
they seldom recover possession of them if once they fall into the 
hands of the soldiery. 

Every fortnight a mail is despatched with letters from Lima 
to Tarma, Jauja, Huancavelica, Ayacucha, Cuzco, and into 
Bolivia ; another proceeds to the northern provinces ; a third to 
Arcquipa and the southern provinces ; and every week one is 
despatched to Cerro de Pasco. In Lima, the letter-bag is con 
signed to the charge of an Indian, who conveys it on the back of 
a mule to the next station,* where it is received by another In- 

* The distance from one station to another varies from six to twelve 


dian ; and in this manner, handed from cholo to cholo, the letter- 
bag traverses the whole of its destined route, unaccompanied by 
an official courier. As soon as the mail arrives at a station, a 
flag is displayed at the house of the post-master, to intimate to 
those who expect letters that they may receive them for they 
are not sent round to the persons to whom they are addressed, 
and it is sometimes even a favor to get them three or four days 
after their arrival. The Peruvian post is as tardy as it is ill- 
regulated. On one of my journeys, I started from Lima two 
days after the departure of the mail. On the road I overtook 
and passed the Indian who had charge of the letters, and, without 
hurrying myself, I arrived in Tarma a day and a half before 
him. Ascending the Cordillera, I once met an Indian very lei 
surely driving his ass before him with the mail-bag fastened to 
its back. Between the towns which do not lie in the regular 
line of route, there is no post-office communication ; for example, 
between Pasco and Caxamarca, or between Pasco and Tarma, 
or Jauja ; and when it is wished to despatch letters from one to 
another of these towns, private messengers must be employed. 
The consequence is, that business, which in Europe would be 
conducted through the medium of correspondence, can be ar 
ranged only by personal communication in Peru. Travelling 
is difficult, but not very expensive, as every one possesses horses 
or mules. 

The best mules employed in the Sierra are obtained from the 
province of Tucuman in Buenos Ayres. Formerly the arrieros 
used annually to bring droves of several thousand mules through 
Bolivia and the Peruvian Sierra, selling as many as they could on 
the way, and taking to Cerro de Pasco those that remained un 
sold. During the Spanish domination, the mule trade was in the 
hands of the Government, to whose agents it afforded ample op 
portunity for the exercise of injustice and extortion. It was one 
of the most oppressive of the repartimientos.* Every Indian was 
compelled to purchase a mule, and was not allowed even the 
privilege of choosing the animal. The mules were distributed 

* Repartimientos (literally, distributions) were the compulsory sale of 
articles by the provincial authorities. 


by the authorities, and were tied to the doors of the houses for 
whose occupants they were destined. After the distribution of 
the mules, a collector went round to receive the payment. 
During the war in Buenos Ayres the traffic in mules suffered 
very considerably. For the space of twelve years not a mule 
had been brought from that part of South America to Peru, when 
in 1840 the Tucumanians revisited the Sierra with their droves 
of mules. They were joyfully welcomed by the Serranos, who 
gave good prices for the animals, and since then the traffic has 
begun to revive. 

In tracing the characteristic features of the Sierra, I have as 
far as possible confined myself to generalities, and I will not now 
weary the reader by entering upon a minute description of par 
ticular towns and villages. All are built pretty nearly after one 
model. The large quadrangular Plaza is closed on three of its 
sides with buildings, among which there is always the Govern 
ment house (cabildo), and the public jail ; the fourth side is 
occupied by a church. From this Plaza run in straight lines 
eight streets, more or less broad, and these streets are crossed at 
right angles by others ; all presenting the same uniformity as in 
Lima. The houses are roomy, surrounded by court-yards, and 
consist of a ground-floor and a story above, but very frequently of 
the ground-floor only. The walls are of brick, and the roofs are 
tiled. The churches are in very bad taste, with the exception of 
a few in the larger towns, which have a good appearance exter 
nally, and are richly decorated within. The smaller Indian vil 
lages are poor and dirty, and are built with little attention to 
regularity. But even in them the quadrangular Plaza is never 
wanting, and at least four straight streets issue from it. 

The Sierra is by far the most populous part of Peru. The 
banks of the rivers flowing through the fertile valleys are thickly 
clustered with villages, which give a peculiar charm to the land 
scape, doubly pleasing to the eye of the traveller who comes 
from the barren parts of the country. The cultivated lands afford 
evidence of progressive improvement, and it is easy to imagine 
the flourishing condition to which this country might arrive with 
increased population. 

From the Sierra two separate roads lead to the eastern de. 


clivity of the Andes. One lies along the banks of the mountain 
rivers, and the other passes over the ridges of the mountains. 
The first way is very difficult, and scarcely practicable, for in 
some parts the streams flow through narrow ravines, bordered on 
each side by perpendicular rocks, and occasionally their course 
is hidden amidst impenetrable forests. The other way, across 
the mountains, leads again into the Puna region, and from thence 
over the steep ridges of the Andes to their barren summits. De 
scending from these summits, we arrive on the sharp ridges of 
one of the many side branches of the Puna Cordillera, which run 
eastward. The Peruvians call these sharp mountain ridges 
Cucliillas (knives). After crossing the Andes, and descending 
a few hundred feet lower, in the direction of the east, the travel 
ler beholds a country totally different from that which he left on 
the western declivity of the mountains. On the eastern side the 
soil is richly covered with vegetation. From the cuchillas the 
road ascends to some higher ridges, crowned with stunted trees 
and brushwood, which, gradually spreading upward, blend with 
the high forests. These wooded ridges are called by the natives 
Ceja de la Montana (the mist of the mountains). In these 
regions the climate is generally more mild than in the Sierra, 
for the mercury never falls to freezing point, and in the middle 
part of the day it never rises so high as in the warm Sierra val- 
loys. Throughout the whole year the Ceja de la Montana is 
overshadowed by thick mists, rising from the rivers in the val 
leys. In the dry season these mists are absorbed by the sun s 
rays, but in winter they float in thick clouds over the hills, and 
discharge themselves in endless torrents of rain. The damp va 
pors have an injurious effect on the health of the inhabitants of 
these districts, which are, however, very thinly populated, as the 
constant moisture unfits the soil for the cultivation of anything 
except potatoes. The pure alpine air of the Puna is preferred 
by the Indians to the vapory atmosphere of the Ceja. 



Road to the Primeval Forests Barbacoas, or Indian Suspension Bridge 
Vegetation Hollow Passes Zoology the Montana Plantations In 
habitants Trade in Peruvian Bark Wandering Indians Wild Indians 
or Indios Bravos Languages, Manners, and Customs of the Indies Bra- 
vos Dress Warlike Weapons and Hunting Arms Dwellings Reli 
gion Physical formation of the Wild Indian Tribes Animals of the 
Aboriginal Forests Mammalia Hunting the Ounce Birds Amphi 
bia Poisonous Serpents Huaco Insects Plants. 

LEAVING Ceja de la Montana, we will trace the route to the Abo- 
riginal forests, which extend eastwardly from the bases of the 
Andes. The whole plain is overspread by a thick veil of mist, 
which does not disperse until about noon, and then an undulating 
dark green canopy clouds the vapory atmosphere. A European, 
whose heart throbs at the bare idea of one of those vast virgin 
forests, gazes anxiously forward on the boundless distance, and 
finds the pace of his cautious mule too tardy for his impatient 
hopes and wishes. He beholds in perspective the goal of his 
long journey. Nature, in all her virginal freshness and gran 
deur, opens to his astonished eyes, and he feels a sensation of 
delight he never before experienced. Regardless of present toil 
and danger, he sees only the pleasure to come. But he is soon 
drawn back to cool reality, and is forcibly reminded of the truth, 
that every enjoyment must be earned by labor. The road is 
broken, narrow, and steep ; over the woody sides of the hill it 
is easily passable ; but as soon as it begins to descend, it presents 
all those difficulties which have been interestingly described by 
the early travellers in Peru. The scanty population of the sur 
rounding districts, the native listlessness of the Indians, and their 
indifference to the conveniences of life, are obstacles to the 
making of roads which might be passable without difficulty and 
danger. However, where nature from the state of the country 


has compelled man to establish a communication, it is executed 
in the most rude and unsatisfactory manner. A most decided 
proof of this is apparent in the bridges called barbacoas, which 
are constructed where the way is through a derumbo, or a small 
narrow mountain-pass, or where there is an obstruction caused 
by a rock which cannot be passed circuitously. The barbacoas 
are constructed in the following manner. Stakes from three 
to three and a half feet long are driven into the ground, or into 
the crevices of rocks. Over the ends of these stakes are fastened 
strong branches of trees, the interstices are filled up with mud, 
and the whole is covered by a sort of matting composed of plaited 
branches and reeds. If the ground admits of it, which is seldom 
the case, a pile of stones is built up beneath the barbacoa, ex 
tending to at least one half its breadth. When it is considered 
that there is, probably, on the one side of this bridge, a rock 
inclining at a very acute angle, or an almost perpendicular de 
clivity of a hill of loose earth, and that on the other side there 
yawns a deep abyss against which there is not the least protec 
tion, the traveller may well be pardoned if he shudders as he 
passes over the creaking and shaking barbacoa. These fragile 
bridges are often so much worn, that the feet of the mules slip 
through the layers of mud and reeds, and whilst making efforts 
to disengage themselves, the animals fall over the edge of the 
barbacoa, and are hurled into the chasm below, dragging down 
the crazy structure along with them. In consequence of these 
accidents, the way is often for weeks, or even months, impassable. 
In the construction of these rude bridges, I observed that the 
Indians, in their simplicity, always faithfully copy their great 
instructress, nature. The majority of the plants growing in 
these regions belong, if I may use the expression, to an aerial 
vegetation. The small, gnarled, low-branched trees, have often 
scarcely one half of their roots in the earth : the other half 
spreads over the surface of the soil ; then winding round the 
roots or branches of some neighboring plant, fastens on it, and 
intimately uniting with it. forms a kind of suspension bridge, 
over which the intertwining of numerous luxuriant climbing plants 
makes a strong, impenetrable network. All the trees and shrubs 
are covered with innumerable parasites, which, in the higher re- 


gions, are met with in their smaller forms, as lichens, mosses, 
&c. ; but lower down, in the course of the various transforma 
tions they undergo, ihey appear in larger development. 

The whole vegetable kingdom here is stamped by a peculiar 
character. It presents immense fulness and luxuriance : it 
spreads widely, with but little upward development, rising on the 
average only a few feet above the earth. Trees, shrubs, and 
tendrils, in endless complication of color, entwine together, some 
times fostering, sometimes crushing each other. Out of the re 
mains of the dead arises a new generation, with an increase of 
vital impulse. It seems as though the ice-crowned Andes looked 
down with envy on the luxuriant vegetation of the forests, and 
sought to blight it by sending down cold, nightly winds. The 
low temperature of the night counteracts that extreme develop 
ment which the humidity of the soil and the great heat of the day 
promote. But what the vegetation loses in upward growth it 
gains in superficial extension, and thereby it secures more pro 
tection against the ever-alternating temperature. 

The further we descend the eastern declivity, the more difficult 
becomes the way. During the rainy season deep fissures are 
worked out by the flow of waters ; the ground is slippery and 
full of holes. The sides of these hollow passes are often so close 
together that the rider cannot keep his legs down on each side of his 
mule, and is obliged to raise up his feet and thrust them forward. 
When beasts of burthen, coming in opposite directions, meet in 
these places, the direst confusion ensues, and frequently sangui 
nary conflicts arise among the Indians. The weaker party are 
then obliged to unload their mules, and the poor beasts are drag 
ged backward by their hind legs, until they reach a point at 
which there is sufficient space for the others to pass. When I 
was proceeding through one of these cavities on Christmas-eve, 
1840, I encountered a heavily laden ass coming down a steep 
declivity. Ere I had time to leap from my saddle, the ass came 
direct upon me with such force that my horse was driven back 
wards by the concussion, and I was thrown. Ten months after 
wards, another encounter of the same kind threatened me with a 
similar disaster, and to save myself I had no alternative but to 
shoot the ass. The Indian who was driving the animal neglected 


the usual warning cry, given by the arrieros when they enter 
those dangerous passes, and he was regardless of my repeated 
calls desiring him to stop. 

In some steep places, with the view of improving the roads, the 
Indians lay down large stones in the form of steps ; but to ride 
over these rude flights of steps is no easy task, for the stones are 
small, and are placed at the distance of a foot and a half or two 
feet apart. The mule begins by placing his hind feet on the 
first stone, then springing forward he reaches the third stone with 
his fore feet, at the same time placing his hind feet to the second. 
By this manoeuvre the mule s body is kept at full stretch, and 
the rider is obliged to lean forward over the animal s neck to 
avoid being thrown head-foremost by the violent jerks when the 
mule springs from step to step. It is absolute torture to ride 
down a descent of five or six leagues, along a road such as I 
have just described : willingly would the harassed rider dismount 
and pursue his course on foot ; but were he to attempt to do so, 
the mule would stand stock still. I have already remarked the 
singular obstinacy with which the mules refuse to proceed when 
their riders dismount, and it sometimes gives rise to very comical 
scenes. On my way to Vitoc, I was passing through a ravine 
in which the uprooted trunk of a tree was resting slantwise 
against a rock. Though there was not room for me to ride under 
it, yet there was sufficient space to allow my mule to pass, and I 
accordingly dismounted ; but all my efforts to drive the animal for 
ward were fruitless. I had no alternative but to ride close up to 
the tree, then spurring the mule, I quickly slipped out of the 
saddle, and seizing the trunk of the tree, I hung to it until the 
mule had passed on. 

No less difficult and dangerous are the steep declivities over 
oamy soils, which are frequently met with in these districts. 
Jn them the mule has no firm footing, and is in danger of slip 
ping down at every step. But the wonderful instinct of these 
animals enables them to overcome the difficulty. They approxi 
mate the hind and fore feet in the manner of the Chamois goat, 
when he is about to make a spring, and lowering the hinder part 
of the body in a position, half sitting half standing, they slide 
down the smooth declivity. At first this sliding movement 


creates a very unpleasant feeling of apprehension, which is not 
altogether removed by frequent repetitions. Accidents frequently 
occur, in which both mule and rider are mortally injured. 

There is more variety of animals in these regions than in tho 
mountainous parts ; but they have few peculiarities of character. 
The swift-footed roe of the Cordillera roams here and dwells in 
the thickets, avoiding the warm forest. The dark brown coati 
(Nasua mo?itana, Tsch.) howls, and digs at the roots of trees in 
search of food ; the shy opossum crawls fearfully under the foli 
age ; the lazy armadillo creeps into his hole ; but the ounce and 
the lion seldom stray hither to contest with the black bear (Ursus 
frugilegus, Tsch.) the possession of his territory. The little 
hairy tapir (Tapirus villosus, Wagn.) ventures only at twilight 
out of his close ambush to forage in the long grass. 

Of the birds there is not much variety of species ; but all are 
remarkable for gay-colored plumage. Among the most charac 
teristic of these districts are the red-bellied tanagra (Tanagra 
ignivmtris, Orb.), the fire-colored pyranga (Phccnisoma Uvittata, 
Tsch.), two species of the crow, one of which is of a fine blue 
color (Cyanocorax viridicyanus, G. R. Gray), the other green on 
the back and bright yellow on the belly (Cyanoc. peruanus, Cab.). 
The Indians call the latter Quienquien, as it utters a sort of 
screaming sound resembling these syllables. Individual birds 
belonging to the Penelope family (P. rufiventris and adspersa, 
Tsch.) and the green pepper-eater (Pteroglossus caruho-cinctus, 
Tsch., Ft. atro-gularis, Sturm.) are found in the lower forests. 

Proceeding still further downward we at length reach the 
Montana. The Peruvians apply this name to the vast aboriginal 
forests which extend across the whole country from north to 
south along the eastern foot of the Andes. Those which lie 
higher, and in which the spaces between the lofty trees are over 
grown with thick masses of bushes and twining plants, are called 
by the natives simply Montanas. Those which are free from 
these intermediate masses of vegetation they call Montanas reales 
(royal mountains). At first sight they produce the impression 
of a virgin forest of oaks. 

The distance from the Ceja to the district properly called the 
Montana is very various at different points. In some parts it 


takes six or eight days hard riding ; in other directions the tra 
veller may, in the morning, leave the snow-covered Puna huts, 
and at sunset, on the uninhabited margin of the primeval forest, 
he may taste pine-apples and bananas of his own gathering. 
Such a day certainly deserves to form an epoch in his life ; for in 
the course of a few hours he passes through the most opposite 
climates of the earth, and the gradual progression of the develop 
ment of the vegetable world is spread out in visible reality before 

The Montaiias of Peru are, in general, but thinly peopled with 
Christian Indians. They are employed either in cultivating their 
own fields, or in working as day-laborers in the great plantations. 
The productions of the haciendas consist chiefly of sugar, coffee, 
maize, coca, tobacco, oranges, bananas, and pine-apples, which 
are sent to the Sierra. The cultivation of bark, balsams, gums, 
honey and wax, also occupies a great number of Indians. 

The plantation buildings stand on rising grounds. The walls 
are constructed of reeds, the interstices being rilled up with loam, 
and the roofs are of straw or palm leaves. Around the buildings 
are the fields allotted to cultivation, in which the soils favorable 
to the production of certain plants are selected. The coffee 
usually grows round the house, and an adjacent building contains 
the store-rooms. The fruit-trees grow along the margins of the 
maize fields ; marshy ground is selected for the sugar fields ; in 
the vicinity of brooks and streams the useful banana flourishes ; 
the pine-trees are ranged in, rows on the hot, dry declivities, and 
the coca is found to thrive best in warm, hollow dells. 

As the humidity of the atmosphere, added to the multitudes of 
insects, mice and rats, prevents any lengthened preservation of 
provisions, the cultivators sell or exchange them as speedily as 
possible ; hence arises a very active intercourse in business be 
tween the Montanas and the Sierra. The mountain Indians bring 
llamas, dried meat, potatoes, bark, and salt, to exchange for fruit; 
it is very seldom that any money circulates in this traffic. Only 
the owners of plantations sell their productions for ready money, 
with which they purchase, in the upland towns, European goods, 
particularly printed and plain cottons, coarse woollen stuffs, knives, 
hatchets, fishing-tackle, &c. ; with these goods they pay their 


ilaborcrs, charging them for every article five or even six times 
its value. As there is throughout these forest regions a great 
want of men, the plantation owners endeavor to get the few In 
dians who settle voluntarily on their property, fixed to it for ever. 
They sell them indispensable necessaries at an extravagant price, 
on condition of their paying for them by field labor. 

I have seen an Indian give five days labor, from six o clock in 
the morning to sunset, for a red pocket-handkerchief, which in 
Germany would not be worth four groschen. The desire to possess 
showy articles, the necessity of obtaining materials for his wretch 
ed clothing, or implements to enable him, in his few free hours, 
to cultivate his own field, and, above all, his passion for coca and 
intoxicating drinks, all prompt the Indian to incur debt upon debt 
to the plantation owner. The sugar-cane is seldom used in the 
forest plantations for making sugar. The juice is usually con 
verted into the cakes called chancacas, which have been already 
mentioned, or it is made into guarapo, a strong liquor, which the 
Indians spare no effort to procure. When they begin to be in 
toxicated, they desire more and more of the liquor, which is readily 
given, as it is the interest of the owners to supply it. After some 
days of extreme abstinence they return to their work, and then 
the Mayordomo shows them how much their debt has increased, 
and the astonished Indian finds that he must labor for several 
months to pay it ; thus these unfortunate beings are fastened in the 
fetters of slavery. Their treatment is, in general, most tyrannical. 
The Negro slave is far more happy than the free Indians in the 
haciendas of this part of Peru. At sunrise all the laborers must 
assemble in the courtyard of the plantation, where the Mayordomo 
prescribes to them their day s work, and gives them the necessary 
implements. They are compelled to work in the most oppressive 
heat, and are only allowed to rest thrice for a few minutes, at 
times fixed, for chewing their coca and for dinner. For indolence or 
obstinacy they suffer corporal punishment, usually by being put 
into a kind of stocks, called the CEPO, in which the culprit stands 
from twelve to forty-eight hours, with his neck or legs fixed be 
tween two blocks of wood. 

The labor of bringing the forest lands into a productive state is 
one of the severest tasks in the Montanas, and it can only be 


performed in the hottest season of the year. As the soil is al 
ways moist, and the vegetation full of sap, the trees must be cut 
down about the end of the rainy season, and after drying for 
some months they are burned ; but they are seldom brought into 
a state of such aridity as to be destroyed by the action of the fire. 
This is a considerable obstruction to the progress of raising plants ; 
for the seed must be sown between the felled trees, which are 
perhaps only half-charred, and are still damp. In consequence 
of this, the practice is, in the first year, to plant maize at the places 
where the burnt trees are laid ; the maize grows in almost in 
credible abundance, and the result is a singularly rich harvest, 
after which, part of the burned wood is removed. The same 
process is renewed after every harvest, until all the burnt trees are 
cleared off and a free field gained for the cultivation of the peren 
nial plants. 

Far more fortunate than the Indians who are neighbors of the 
plantations, are those who live far back in the interior of the 
forests, and who, in consequence of their great distance from any 
settlement, seldom have intercourse with the civilized world. 
Content with what bounteous nature offers them, and ignorant of 
the wants of more refined life, they seek nothing beyond such 
things as they can, without any great efforts, obtain in the districts 
in which they dwell. There they plant their little patches of 
ground, the care of which is consigned to the women. The men 
takes their bows and arrows and set out on hunting expeditions, 
during which they are for weeks, often months, absent from their 
homes. The rainy season drives them back to their huts, where 
they indulge in indolent repose, which is only occasionally sus 
pended when they are engaged in fishing. The return of the 
sunny sky draws them out again on their expeditions, in which 
they collect a sufficient supply of food for the year. 

But wherever these Indians have settled on the banks of great 
rivers, the trading intercourse produces an alteration in their mode 
of life. Europeans and Creoles then try to create among them, 
as among the plantation Indians, a desire to satisfy unnecessary 
wants, and thereby they are induced to collect the valuable pro 
ductions of the forests. In the loftier districts of the Montanas 
the Peruvian bark is found : the lower and more marshy places 


produce the sarsaparilla, and a sort of wood for dyeing called 
Llangua. This last-named article has not yet found its way to 

In the month of May the Indians assemble to collect the Peru- 
vian bark, for which purpose they repair to the extensive Cinchona 
woods. One of the party climbs a high tree to obtain, if possible, 
an uninterrupted view over the forest, and to spy out the Manchas, 
or spots where there are groups of Peruvian bark trees. The 
men who thus spy out the trees are called Caleadores, or searchers. 
It requires great experience to single out, in the dark leaf-covered 
expanse, the Cinchona groups merely by the particular tint of the 
foliage, which often differs but very little from that of the sur 
rounding trees. As soon as the cateador has marked out and 
correctly fixed upon the mancha, he descends to his companions, 
and leads them with wonderful precision through the almost im 
penetrable forest to the group. A hut is immediately built, which 
serves as a resting-place during night, and is also used for drying 
and preserving the bark. The tree is felled as near the root as 
possible, divided into pieces, each from three to four feet long, 
and with a short curved knife a longitudinal incision is made in 
the bark. After a few days, if the pieces are found to be getting 
dry, the bark already incised is stripped off in long slips, which 
are placed in the hut, or in hot weather laid before it to dry. In 
many parts, particularly in the central and southern districts of 
Peru, where the moisture is not very great, the bark is dried in 
the forest, and the slips are packed in large bundles. In other 
districts, on the contrary, the bark is rolled up green, and sent to 
the neighboring villages, where it is dried. Towards the end of 
September the Cascaril/eros* return to their homes. 

In the more early periods of South American history, the bark 
was a principal article of Peruvian commerce. Since the com- 
mencement of the present century its value has, however, con 
siderably diminished, chiefly in consequence of adulterated and 
inferior kinds, which are supplied from other quarters, perhaps 
also on account of the more frequent use of quinine ; for in the 
production of the alkaloids less bark is employed than was for- 

* Bark-gatherers. The Peruvians call the bark caacarilla, and they 
point out the distinctions of a great number of species and varieties. 


merly used in substance. During the war of independence the 
bark trade received its death-blow, and for the space of several 
years scarcely more than a few hundred-weights of bark were 
exported from Peru. The Montaiias of Huanuco, which once 
furnished all the apothecaries of Europe with the " divine medi 
cine," are beginning again to yield supplies. From the roots of 
the felled trees a vigorous after-growth has commenced. In the 
Montanas of Huamalies a kind of bark is found, the nature of 
which is not yet defined by botanists ; and from the Montanas of 
Urubamba comes the highly esteemed Cascarilla de Cuzco, which 
contains an alkaloid, named Cusconin.* Possibly the medicinal 
bark may again become a flourishing branch of trade for Peru, 
though it can never again recover the importance which was at 
tached to it a century ago. During my residence in Peru, a plan 
was in agitation for establishing a quinine manufactory at Hua 
nuco. The plan, if well carried out, would certainly be attended 
with success. There is in Bolivia an establishment of this kind 
conducted by a Frenchman ; but the quinine produced is very 
impure. The inhabitants of the Peruvian forests drink an in 
fusion of the green bark as a remedy against intermitting fever. 
I have found it in many cases much more efficacious than the dried 
kind, for less than half the usual dose produces, in a short time, 
convalescence, and the patient is secure against returning febrile 

A class of Indians who live far back in the heart of the woods 
of Southern Peru and Bolivia employ themselves almost exclu 
sively in gathering balsams and odorous gums from resinous 
plants, many of which are burned in the churches as incense. 
They also collect various objects, supposed to be sympathetic 
remedies, such as the claws of the tapir, against falling sickness ; 
and the teeth of poisonous snakes which, carefully fixed in leaves, 
and stuck into the tubes of rushes, are regarded as powerful spe 
cifics against headache and blindness. Various salves, plasters, 
powders, seeds, roots, barks, &c., to each of which is attributed 
some infallible curative power, are prepared and brought to mar- 

* From Cuzco, the ancient residence of the Incas. It was discovered 
by the French chemists Corriol and Pelletier, in the Cascarilla which is 
shipped in Arica ; hence this alkaloid is also called JL-ricva.- 


ket by the Indians. When the rainy season sets in they leave 
the forest and proceed in parties to the mountainous country. 
On these occasions, contrary to the general custom of the Indians, 
the men, not the women, carry the burthens. They are accom 
panied by the women as far as the Sierra ; for the loads, which 
are often very heavy, graze the backs of the men who carry them, 
and the women then act as surgeons. The injured part is first 
carefully washed with copaiba balsam, moistened, then covered 
with leaves fixed on with small strips of leather, overlaid with 
the hide of some forest animal. These operations being per 
formed, the loads are again fastened on the backs of the Indians. 
In their native forests these people wear but little clothing. 
Their dress is limited to a sort of loose tunic without sleeves for 
the women, and for the men merely a piece of cloth fastened 
round the waist. They go barefooted ; but they paint their feet 
and legs with the juice of the Huito (Genipa oblongifolia , R. 
Pav.) in such a manner that they seem to be wearing half-boots. 
The juice of the Huito has the effect of protecting them against 
the stings of insects. The coloring adheres so strongly to the 
skin that it cannot be washed off by water ; but oil speedily 
removes it. In the Sierra these Indians put on warmer clothing, 
and on their feet they wear a kind of boots called aspargetas t 
made of the plaited tendrils of plants. 

The stock of balsams and drugs being disposed of, the Indians, 
after a few months absence, return to their homes. Some of 
them, however, wander to the distance of two or three hundred 
leagues from their native forests, traversing the greater part of 
Peru, and even visiting Lima, carrying large flask gourds filled 
with balsams. These wandering tribes seek frequent contact with 
other nations. They are not distrustful and reserved, but, on 
the contrary, annoyingly communicative. It is not easy to dis 
cover the cause of this exception, or to ascertain the time when 
the Indians began to travel the country as physicians and apothe 
caries. The earliest writers on the oldest epochs of Peiuvian 
history make no mention of this race of medical pedlars. 

The Indians here alluded to all profess Christianity, and must, 
as Indios Christianas, in strict correctness, be distinguished from 
the wild Indians, Indios Bravos, who exclusively inhabit the 


eastern Montanas of Peru, towards the frontiers of Brazil. These 
Indios Bravos comprehend numerous tribes, each of which has 
its own customs, religion, and also, in general, its own language. 
Only very few of them are known, for since the overthrow of the 
missions there is little communication with them. Respecting 
the Indios Bravos who inhabit the Montanas of Southern Peru, I 
have been unable to collect any accurate information. They 
remain quite unknown, for impenetrable wilds intervene between 
them and the civilized world, and seldom has a European foot 
ventured into their territory. The wild Indians in Central Peru 
are most set against the Christians, particularly those called Iscu- 
chanos, in the Montana de Huanta, and those known by the 
name of Chunchos, in the Montana de Vitoc. The Iscuchanos 
sometimes maintain with the inhabitants of Huanta a trade of 
barter ; but this intercourse is occasionally interrupted by long 
intervals of hostility, during which the Iscuchanos, though rather 
an inoiTensive race, commit various depredations on the Huanta- 
nos ; driving the cattle from the pastures, carrying off the pro 
duce of the soil, and spreading terror throughout the whole dis 
trict. Some years ago, when the inhabitants of Huanta had 
assembled for the procession of the Festival of Corpus Christi, a 
troop of Iscuchanos came upon them with wild bulls, turning the 
infuriated animals against the procession, which was dispersed, 
and many of the Huantanos were killed or severely wounded. 
These Iscuchanos are so favored by the locality of the district they 
inhabit, that even were a military expedition sent to drive them 
farther back into the woods, it would probably be unsuccessful. 

The Chunchos are far more dangerous, and are one of the 
most formidable races of the Indios Bravos. They inhabit the 
most southern part of the Pampa del Sacramento (the terra in 
cognita of Peru), and chiefly the district through which flow the 
rivers Chanchamayo and Perene. Those regions are inhabited 
by a great number of tribes, most of which are only known by 
name. The frontier neighbors of the Chunchos are the sangui 
nary Carnpas or Antes who destroyed the missions of Jesus Maria 
in Pangoa, and who still occasionally pay hostile visits to San 
Buenaventura de Chavini, the extreme Christian outpost in the 
Montana de Andamarca. The savage race of *he Casibos, the 


enemies of all the surrounding populations, inhabit the banks of 
the river Pachitea. This race Maintains incessant war with all 
the surrounding tribes, and constantly seeks to destroy them. 
According to the accounts of the missionaries, they, as well as 
the Antes and Chunchos, are still cannibals, and undertake war 
like expeditions for the purpose of capturing prisoners, whom 
they devour. After the rainy season, when the Simirinches, the 
Amapuahas, or Consbos, hunt in the western forests, they often 
tall into tne hands of the Casibos, who imitate in perfection the 
cries of the forest animals, so that the hunters are treacherously 
misled, and being captured, are carried off as victims. Many 
horrible accounts of this barbarous tribe were related by the mis 
sionaries centuries ago, when romantic stories and exaggerations 
of every kind were the order of the day ; but the most recent 
communications of the missionaries from Ocopa confirm the fact, 
that in the year 1842, the Casibos continued to be savage An 
thropophagi. It is worthy of remark that they never eat women, 
a fact which some may be inclined to attribute to respect for the 
female sex. It is, however, assignable to a different feeling. All 
the South American Indians, who still remain under the influ 
ence of sorcery and empiricism, consider women in the light of 
impure and evil beings, and calculated to injure them. Among 
a few of the less rude nations this aversion is apparent in domes 
tic life, in a certain unconquerable contempt of females. With 
the Anthropophagi the feeling extends, fortunately, to their flesh, 
which is held to be poisonous. 

The languages spoken by the wild Indian tribes are very vari 
ous. From the Maranon to Omaguas, Quichua, the language of 
the Incas, is spoken. On the left bank of the Ucayali the dialect 
of the Panos prevails. On the right bank the Cascas, the Sina- 
bus. and the Diabus, preserve their own idioms, which are so 
different that those races are reciprocally unable to communicate 
with each other. On Upper Ucayali evidences of common ori 
gin are said to be apparent between the Simirinches, Campas, 
Runaguas, and Mochobos. But on this subject no accurate 
conclusions can be formed ; for the accounts given by the mis 
sions in early periods were very imperfect, and most of the 
races are so intractable that it has since been impossible to col- 


lect correct information. According to the accounts of travelled 
missionaries which I had the opportunity of examining in the 
convent of Ocopa, it appears that, besides the Quichua. the idioms 
spoken by the Panos, Cascas, Simirinches, and the Chunchos, 
may be set down as dialects of decidedly different origins. 

The mode of living among all these Indians is very much the 
same. War and hunting in summer, and repairing their war 
like weapons in winter, are the occupations of the men. The 
women cultivate the fields, lay up the stores of provisions, fish, 
spin and cook. Their clothes are of the most simple kind. 
Many of the races wear no clothing, and have their bodies wholly 
or partially bedaubed with paint. The men of some races wear 
a kind of shirt without sleeves, and the women a petticoat reach 
ing from the waist to the knees. These garments are made of 
cotton obtained from the uncultivated tree JBombax, and their 
color is white, blue, or red. The custom of boring the ears, 
the nose, and the under lip, for the insertion of some ornament, is 
much practised, particularly by the Panos, Shipeos, and Pirras. 
They paint their bodies, but not exactly in the tattoo manner ; 
they confine themselves to single stripes. The Sensis women 
draw two stripes from the shoulder, over each breast, down to the 
pit of the stomach ; the Pirras women paint a band in the form of a 
girdle round the waist, and they have three of a darker color 
round each thigh. These stripes, when once laid on, can never 
be removed by washing. They are made with the unripe fruit 
of one of the Rubiacacere. Some tribes paint the face only ; 
others, on the contrary, do not touch that part ; but bedaub with 
colors their arms, feet, and breasts. 

In hunting, bows and arrows are the principal weapons used 
by the Indians. In war they use, besides bows and arrows, 
clubs and a kind of sword made of wood. The arrows are reeds, 
five or six feet long, and of the thickness of a finger. The 
point is of very hard wood, and is strongly barbed by notches 
and with sharp fish teeth about three inches long. To the other 
extremity of the arrow colored feathers are always affixed. 

Among many Indians, particularly in the western and north 
ern districts of the Pampa del Sacramento, the Pocuna is a 
weapon much used in hunting. It is made of a long reed, and 


measures eight or ten, or even more, feet. At one end are fixed 
two teeth of a javali, or white-lipped peccary (Dicotyhs labiatus), 
on which the reed is rested when taking aim. The arrows, 
which are only one and a half or two inches long, are made of 
the thick part of a strong cactus stem. In general their small 
arrows are poisoned, for otherwise the wound would be too 
inconsiderable to kill even a little bird. The poison for arrows 
differs almost with every tribe, and very mysterious ceremonies 
are observed at its preparation. On this account the art of pre 
paring it, and the ingredients employed, are only very partially 
known to Europeans. Their elements are obtained from seve 
ral plants not yet defined botanically, among which the Apilmasca 
and poison capsicum are much resorted to. Infusions of the 
leaves of a very strong kind of tobacco, and of the Sanano ( Ta- 
berncBmontana Sanano, R. P.), and of Euphorbiaceoe, are also taken. 
Some modern travellers, contrary to the testimony of the oldest 
writers on Peru, have asserted that no animal substance is employed 
in the poison for arrows. I am, however, enabled to state, on the 
authority of an Indian who had himself often made the poison, 
that not only the black and very poisonous emmet (Cryptacereo 
atrato affin), but also the teeth of the formidable serpent, known 
to the Indians by the name of Miuamaru or Jergon (Lachesis 
picta, Tsch.), are used for that purpose. 

The wound of the poisoned arrow is fatal and rapid. Men 
and large mammalia die in about four or five minutes after 
receiving the wound ; the smaller mammiferous animals and 
birds, in two minutes. The blow-reed sends these deadly 
arrows with great certainty to the distance of thirty-two or 
thirty-six paces. Hunting with the blow-reed must be long 
practised in order to acquire dexterity in its use, and groat cau 
tion is requisite to avoid being self-wounded by the small sharp 
arrows. An example came to my knowledge in the case of an 
Indian who let an arrow fall unobserved from his quiver; he 
trod upon it, and it penetrated the sole of his foot ; in a very 
short time he was a corpse. 

he club called Matusino is four or five feet long, and is 
encircled in a spiral form at the thick end, by a row of deer s 
horns. A single long horn is fastened in the centre, the chief 


use of which is to stick it in the earth when the club is rested. 
Only a few races of upper and lower Ucayali and the Sensis use 
this formidable weapon, which is very inconvenient and obstruc 
tive in passing through thick forests. The macana, or wooden 
sword, is made of strong chunta. The color of this wood is a 
deep blackish brown ; it is very hard and heavy, and is always 
used for implements which require great durability and strength. 
The macana is about four feet long, one inch thick, and from 
five to six inches broad ; towards the hilt end the breadth is about 
three inches, and it is rounded. It is so well cut and polished, 
that a sabre scarcely excels it in sharpness. The weapon is so 
heavy that it requires both hands to wield it. 

There are not only offensive, but also defensive, weapons. 
One of the latter is the viche, a very simple shield, one and a 
half or two feet in diameter. It consists of a strong frame of 
twisted creeping plants, over which the skin of a deer or tapir is 
stretched and fastened with twine. On the inside there are two 
holds for the arm ; the edge is adoined with colored feathers. 

The Indians of the races above noticed seldom live in villa 
ges, but chiefly in huts scattered through the forests. Sometimes 
they construct a few of their dwellings near together, and so 
form a hamlet. Their huts are either quadrangular, oblong, or 
circular. The walls consist of strong stems of trees, bound 
together by twining plants ; and the roof is of palm leaves laid 
over a skeleton of reeds. The entiance, which is on the side 
opposite to the prevailing wind, is lei * open, and but seldom pro 
tected by a door. At Chanchamayo J saw a very simple kind 
of hut among the Chunchos. It resembled an open umbrella 
with the handle stuck in the earth. The single wall, which also 
formed its roof, consisted of eight long reeds : they spread out 
below in the form of a fan, standing obliquely on the earth, and 
fastened to three stems of trees. On this simple skeleton were 
laid lengthways the leaves of the omero, a kind of palrn. A 
strong stem fixed firmly in the earth, extended obliquely to the 
middle of the inner side of the wall, and two thinner stems on 
each side, served as supports for this frail building. According 
to the direction of the wind the hut is turned round. 

The Indian huts all stand detached from each other, and they 


are seldom divided internally into apartments. They occupy 
very little ground, never more than sixty square feet of superfi 
cies. In the principal settlement of an Indian race, the huts are 
scattered over a circuit of some miles in the forests. 

Any form of government is a thing quite unknown to most of 
the Indies Bravos of Peru. Uniformity of speech, manners, and 
arms, unite together a number of Indians, who thus form a race, 
but there is among them no bond of subjection, or of duty to any 
government, either voluntarily chosen, or self-constituted. Among 
the inhabitants of Lower Ucayali, however, the oldest, or the 
bravest individuals of each race are either publicly, or silently 
recognised as chiefs. Respect to age prevails only among a few 
of the races, as the Setebos, Mayorhunas, and Panos. Among 
others, as the Campos, Casibos, and Cunchos, the old are put to 
death. It is a general custom of the wild Indians to kill their 
aged prisoners immediately on their being captured. 

Social meetings among these races are of rare occurrence. 
Gloomy, reserved, and distrustful, the Indian is only at ease in 
the circle he has himself formed. When, however, the general 
interest of the race is in question, then he comes boldly forward 
in support of the whole. The usual assemblages are for the 
arrangement of long hunting excursions, and warlike expeditions. 
The departures and the returns are celebrated by tumultuous 
feasts, in which intoxicating drinks flow freely. Most of the 
liquors are prepared from Yucca, or the fruits of the Chunta, 
called the Mazato, or other species of palms. In the most remote 
forests, and among the most insulated tribes, the preparation of 
intoxicating liquors is known ; and there certainly is not in all 
South America an Indian race which is not familiar with it. 
Wild dances form part of the entertainments, and the banquet 
usually ends with a sanguinary battle. 

Marriage in most races is celebrated socially, but not among 
those in which polygamy prevails. The formula observed en 
the occasion differs in different tribes ; in some the union is 
effected under painful ceremonies to the bride, in others with fast 
ing and penitential torments to the bridegroom. In general the 
Indian selects a wife for himself. In the greater number of 
tribes a maiden is set up as a prize, and the young men com- 


mence a life or death contest for her. The oldest warriors are 
arbitrators, and from their hands the conqueror receives the 
prize. This is the practice among the inhabitants of the Rio de 
Santa Catalina. With them, as well as with most of the tribes 
of Western Ucayali, the birth of a child is festively celebrated 
The oldest individuals of the race assemble to receive the child, 
which is repeatedly blown on to drive demons and sickness away 
from it ; the name of an animal is then given to it, and, accord 
ing to Don Pedro Beltran, the witnesses of the ceremony mark 
with a wooden pencil some hieroglyphic characters on two leaves, 
which are carefully preserved, and on the death of the Indian, 
deposited in the grave with him. 

The dead are buried in the huts. The survivors having tes 
tified their sorrow by a melancholy howl three times repeated, 
leave the place and build a new residence for themselves in a 
distant district. They break in pieces all the household furni 
ture of the deceased, but they bury with him his warlike weapons 
and his agricultural implements, under the conviction that he 
will use them in the place to which he is going. A peculiar 
custom among several races is this : the oldest son cuts a piece 
from the heel of his deceased father, which he hangs round his 
neck, and wears as a sacred relic. Some of the tribes on the 
Perene and Capanegua do not, like most wild nations, respect 
the remains of the dead, but throw the bodies into the forest 
unburied, to be devoured by beasts of prey. 

Very little is correctly known of the religion of the Peruvian 
Indios Bravos. All believe in the existence of superior beings, 
and distinguish them as good and evil ; and they are accordingly 
venerated from gratitude, or from fear. The former they regard 
as beneficent ; but the latter as having the power of bringing 
into exercise all the destroying forces of nature. These people, 
therefore, find in the sky, in the air, and on the earth, objects 
for their adoration. Certain constellations are regarded as 
favorable phenomena, while others are looked at with a secret 
horror. The sun is by all gladly worshipped, more particularly 
by the descendants of those who in early times stood in connex 
ion with the Incas. On the other hand, they pay but a reluc 
tant tribute to the moon, perhaps because by its pale light fearful 


images are reflected around them in the forests, and because its 
phases are to them involved in impenetrable mystery. They 
ascribe thunder and lightning to demoniacal influences, and to 
the same origin they attribute certain winds which have an inju 
rious influence on their health. But their religious notions are 
not connected exclusively with the phenomena of nature, which 
are to them inexplicable. With all their ideas on surrounding 
nature, two conflicting principles are invariably connected, one 
of which is believed to be beneficial, the other injurious to them. 
In the animals of the forest, the plants, the stones, in everything, 
they trace these beneficent or demoniacal powers. Every idea, 
every action is with them a consequence of the influence of one 
of these two powers, and free will is impossible. Though a rude 
materialism cripples the intelligence of these Indians, yet they 
seem to be sensible of the connexion between that which is per 
ceptible to their senses, and something higher something beyond 
the sphere of corporeal perception. But of the nature of this 
higher something they have no comprehension, nor do they 
endeavor to render to themselves any account of it. They are 
satisfied with an obscure idea of the difference between the visi 
ble and the invisible ; but still this idea is so contracted that 
they always give to the spiritual a corporeal form : and they 
attribute to natural objects with which they come most in contact, 
tbft possession of good or evil qualities, thus assigning to them 
the nature of spiritual beings. 

None of these tribes appear, as yet, to have advanced so far as 
to be impressed with the persuasion that the whole of nature is 
guided by unchangeable laws over which one will presides. In 
general, they have no idea of a spiritual unity, and are utter 
strangers to the knowledge of one God. They all, however, be 
lieve in the immortality of the soul. They see the lifeless body, 
they have certain proof that the earthly integument is no longer 
the abode of the soul ; but, as they can form no notion of any 
thing spiritual entirely self-existent, they imagine that their dead 
will, in new life, appear under a new bodily form. The several 
tribes differ greatly in their belief of the nature of the metamor 
phoses which they expect to take place. Those who look for 
ward to the re-appearance of the deceased in human life, bury 


with the men hunting and agricultural instruments ; but their 
notions even on this head are not very clear, and when questioned 
on the subject their answers are very confused. They say that 
they are going to a very beautiful place, far from their present 
dwelling ; but, according to their conception, it appears that the 
place, though distant, is still on earth. Those races who believe 
in metamorphoses into the forms of the lower animals, are per 
suaded that the dead in their new forms will inhabit the woods 
around their homes, and avenge the wrongs they have suffered 
during life. This is the belief of the inhabitants of Upper Ucay- 
ali and Pachitea. 

In considering the physical formation of the wild Indians, we 
may class them according to their natural divisions, viz., the 
inhabitants of the more highly situated lands, or mountains, and 
those of the low hot flat country. The former dwell on the 
eastern side of the hill-chain, dividing the river territory of the 
Iluallaga and Ucayali, and spreading to the banks of the Chau- 
chamayo, Pcrene, and Apurimac. These are the Iscuchanos. 
They are rather tall and generally slim ; their limbs are vigor- 
ous ; their hands and feet small, and in walking their toes are 
much turned in. The head is proportionally large, with very 
strong bones ; the forehead is low, the eyes small and animated, 
the nose large and rather sharp, the cheek-bones a little promi 
nent. The mouth is not large, and the lips are delicately 
formed, but often disfigured by ornaments. The ears are small, 
quite the reverse of those of the Indians of the flat lands. The 
pointed chin is only sparingly covered with beard, which does 
not appear until advanced age, and on the cheeks there is none. 
The hair of the head is long, stiff, and of a brilliant black. 
Many of the tribes dye their hair ; the Chunchos dye it red, and 
the Antis are said to dye it blue ; as to the latter color it appears 
to me improbable, but I mention it on the authority of Friar 
Leceta. The skin is fine and soft, the color a deep rusty brown. 
In speaking of the South American Indians, it is usual to describe 
their skin as copper color, but this term is incorrect, for there 
certainly is no single tribe to which it might be perfectly appli 
cable. It appears to me that the color of all is much fainter, 


and tending more to brown or yellow. " Rusty brown," if the 
expression may be used, appears to me far more descriptive. 

The second natural section of the wild Indians inhabits the 
northern part of the Pampa del Sacramento, the banks of the 
CJcayali, and of the Maranon. They are smaller than those just 
described. There is a certain peculiarity in the make of these 
people ; for though they are broad over the shoulders yet their 
chests are flat, and their shoulder blades lie low. Their limbs 
are lank, and their hands rather small ; the soles of the feet are 
broad and flat. The face is broad, the eyes long shaped, the 
pupil deeply set, the nose is flat, with large oblique nostrils, and 
the cheek-bones are prominent. The mouth is wide, the lips 
thick, and among some tribes the mouth and nose are very close 
together. The chin is small and round, the ears large and 
standing out from the head. The hair and beard of these Indians 
are the same as in those of the hilly country. The color of the 
skin varies much ; in some it is a light reddish brown ; in others, 
a kind of yellow, very like that of the Mongols. The women of 
all these tribes are exceedingly ugly, and far from corresponding 
with the picture a European imagination might form of the 
daughters of the aboriginal forests. These women soon become 
old, for they not only fulfil female duties, but execute the greater 
part of those severer labors which ought to fall to the share of 
the stronger sex. 

To the above outline sketch of the human inhabitants of the 
aboriginal forests, I will now add some description of the animal 
world, as it came under my observation in those luxuriant re 

Unlike the peaceful repose which presides over animal life on 
the level heights, are the constant aggressions and combats which 
prevail in the forest regions. There the strong attack the weak, 
and the cunning inveigle the unwary : strength and intelligence, 
caution and instinct, are unceasingly in active operation. The 
variegated forms and colors which meet the eye, and the multi 
farious cries and tones which resound through the woods, form, 
altogether, the most singular contrast. The gold-feathered coli- 
bri hums lightly through the air, soaring over the heavy, sombre- 
colored tapir. The sprightly singing-bird pours forth his mete- 


dious chants amidst the thick foliage of the aged trees, whilst 
the fierce ounce, prowling for his prey, growls as he passes over 
their enormous, spreading roots. Slowly do the eye and the ear 
learn to distinguish individuals in the vast mass of apparent cha 
otic confusion, and to recognise quickly fleeting forms, or distant 
resounding sounds. 

The whole of the animal world is here developed to the view, 
and it would be difficult to assign the predominance to any one 
class. Yet, perhaps, the variegated feathered tribe is relatively 
most extensively represented. The number of the mammalia is 
also important. They are seldom seen by the hunter during the 
day, but twilight draws them from their hiding-places. 

Troops of monkeys skip from tree to tree, looking timidly 
around, and uttering mournful howls. Among them are swarms 
of the black marimonda (Ateks), with slender long arms and red- 
brown or black faces ; in some the faces are encircled with 
white hair (Ateles marginalus, Geoff.), which gives them a strik 
ing resemblance to an old negro. Next is seen a group of 
silver-grey monkeys (Lagothrix Humboldtii, Geoff.), stalking over 
heaps of broken branches and twigs in search of a resting-place. 
These monkeys, which are the largest in South America, are 
about three feet high, and are bold and vicious. When wounded 
they take a position of defence against the hunter, struggling, 
and uttering loud cries, upon which their companions hasten 
down from the trees to assist them. But soon a short stifled cry 
is heard : it is the cry of mortal convulsion. That sound drives 
them instantly back, and they disperse in wild flight. The sly 
sayu ventures to approach the dwellings of men, where he plun 
ders maize fields with incredible dexterity. The delicate silky- 
haired monkey, shivering at every cool breeze or shower of rain, 
and starting at the slightest noise, creeps for shelter into the 
thicket, where he lies peeping with his penetrating eyes in the 
direction of the apprehended danger. 

At sunset swarms of bats flutter through field and forest in all 
directions, and greedily devour the insects which in the twilight 
awaken to full activity. Some of these bats (Phyllostoma has- 
latum, Geoff.) are remarkable for their expanse of wing, which 
measures nearly two feet. Others are distinguished for ugli- 


ness and for their offensive smell. These latter fly into the 
Indian huts at night and greatly annoy the inhabitants, who can 
not get rid of them by fire or smoke, or any other means, until 
at the midnight hour they retire of their own accord. Not less 
troublesome are the leaf-nosed bats (Phyllostoma), which attack 
both man and beast. This bat rubs up the skin of his victim, 
from which he sucks the blood. The domestic animals suffer 
greatly from the nocturnal attacks of these bats, and many are 
destroyed by the exhaustion consequent on the repeated blood- 
sucking. The blood drawn by the bat itself does not exceed a 
few ounces ; but if, when satisfied, it drops down to the ground, 
or flies away, the wound continues to bleed for a long time, and 
in the morning the animal is often found in a very weak condi 
tion, and covered with blood. One of my mules, on which a 
leaf-nosed bat made a nightly attack, was only saved by having 
his back rubbed with an ointment made of spirits of camphor, 
soap and petroleum. The blood-suckers have such an aversion 
to the smell of this ointment that on its application they ceased to 
approach the mule. These bats are very mischievous in the 
plantations of the forests, where beasts of burden and horned 
cattle are exposed to their attacks. Whether they venture to 
assail man has been a much disputed question. Several travel 
lers declare that they do not. I may, however, mention a case 
which occurred within my own knowledge. A bat (Ph. erythro- 
mos, Tsch.) fastened on the nose of an Indian lying intoxicated 
in a plantation, and sucked so much blood that it was unable to 
fly away. The slight wound was followed by such severe inflam 
mation and swelling that the features of the Cholo were not 

Many beasts of prey, and among them some of formidable 
strength and fierceness, make havoc among the other animals of 
the forests. In the lofty Montanas the black bear (U.frugilegus, 
Tsch.) roams as wild as his fellow-depredator of the Cordillera. 
He often enters the maize fields of the Indians, breaks the stalks 
of the plants and drags the green tops away to his hole. When 
this bear cannot obtain his customary vegetable food, consisting 
chiefly of the fruits of a pandanea (Phytelephas), he watches for 
the deer and wild boars, or attacks the oxen employed to turn 


the machinery in the sugar-mills : he has even been known to 
assail solitary travellers. The lively coatis traverse the forests 
in flocks. They collect round the roots of trees and search for 
the larvce of insects ; light-footed, they climb up bush and tree 
to find birds nests, and feast on the eggs and the young. With 
a monotonous howl, not unlike that made by some dogs on a clear 
moonlight night, the yellow-breasted glutton (Galictis larbara, 
Wieg.), the omeyro of the Indians, announces his presence. 
But the most fierce of all these wild forest animals are those of 
the feline class. The spotless dark-grey yaguarundi, not much 
larger than the wild cat of Europe, pursues all kinds of birds, 
particularly the pigeon, the partridge, and the penelope. The 
oscollo (F. celidogaster, Tern.), the uturunca (F. pardalis, L.), 
and the long-tailed, yellowish-grey tiger-cat (F. macrourura, Pr. 
M.), all lie in wait, not only for the weaker mammalia, but 
sometimes they even venture into the plantations and kill dogs 
and poultry. The maneless Mexican Lion (the puma) roams 
through the upper regions of the forest, where he has almost 
undisputed hunting-ground. He fearlessly assails victims who 
cannot effectually defend themselves, such as the horse, the 
mule, and the ass, and he tears large pieces of flesh from their 
ribs ; but he does not venture to meddle with oxen. He shuns 
men, and in the forest he even flies from the unarmed Indian. I 
fired at a very large puma, which immediately fled, roaring 
loudly. When severely wounded and driven into a corner, this 
animal frequently commences a combat of despair, and some 
times kills the hunter. The puma measures in length about 
four feet, and in height more than two feet. More direful than 
any of the felines mentioned above is the sanguinary ounce,* 
which possesses vast strength, and is of a most savage disposi 
tion. Though the favorite haunts of this animal are the expan 
sive Pajonalcs, yet he frequently takes up his abode in the 
vicinity of villages and plantations, spreading terror among the 
inhabitants. Far from being intimidated at the sight of men, he 
often attacks individuals, and when pressed by hunger is not 

* The Indian name for this animal is Chaque chinca. The black variety 
Yana chinca is called by the Spaniards Tigrc or Yaguar. 


afraid, even in broad daylight, to slip into the forest villages in 
order to carry off food, and the booty, when once seized, is not 
easily recovered. 

An amusing example of this occurred in the Montana of Vitoc. 
An Indian one night heard his only pig squeaking loudly, as if 
in pain. He hastened to the door of his hut to see what was the 
matter, and he discovered that an ounce had seized the pig by 
the head, and was carrying it off. The Cholo, who determined 
to make an effort to recover his property, seized the pig by the 
hind legs, and endeavored to drag it from the grasp of the robber. 
This contest was kept up for some time, the ounce, with his eyes 
glaring in the darkness, holding fast the head of the pig, and the 
Indian pulling it hard by the legs. At length the Indian s wife 
came to the door of the hut with a lighted fagot, and the scared 
ounce, with terrible bowlings, slowly retired to the forest. In 
general the Indians have a great dread of these animals, and 
seldom venture singly into the parts they frequent. The ounce 
hunter is the only one who ventures to approach them. He is 
armed with a long spear, with which he gives the ferocious 
animal a death-blow. He lets the ounce come within a few 
paces of him without making the least show either of flight or 
attack. If, however, the stroke he aims does not immediately 
reach the seat of life, the hunter, in general, becomes the victim 
of his bold attempt. Before he can stand on his defence, the 
wounded ounce drags him to the ground, and tears the flesh 
from his bones. 

Sometimes the villagers collect their dogs together for a gene 
ral hunt. They drive the ounce into a place from whence there 
is no escape, or often up a tree, where they shoot him with long 
arrows sent from their bows or blow-tubes. In a few places 
snares are laid, or large holes are dug, and a sharp-pointed stake 
is stuck in the middle, covered with stalks and branches of trees, 
on which the bait is laid. The ounce is, however, too cunning 
to be easily caught in traps, and it is only when pressed by hun 
ger that he can be tempted by a bait. In some districts the 
ounces have increased so greatly, and done so much damage, 
that the natives have been compelled to remove and settle in 
other places. I need only refer to the Quebrada of Mayun- 


marca, in the Montana of Huanta, near the road to Anco. There 
once stood the little village of Mayumarca, which has been aban 
doned for more than a hundred years, as it was found that the jagu 
ars annually decimated the inhabitants ; this Quebrada is still in 
such bad repute that not a single Indian will venture into it. 

There is a black variety of the ounce, by many erroneously 
regarded as a distinct species. It has the identical marks of the 
common jaguar, or ounce, only its color is a dark, blackish-brown, 
whereby the whole of the black spots are rendered indistinct. 
On the lower banks of the Ucayali and the Maranon this dark 
variety is more frequently met with than in the higher forests ; 
in the Montanas of Huanta and Urubamba it is also not uncom 
mon. It is upon the whole larger, stronger, and more daring 
than the lighter kind, and I have actually seen many black skins 
which exceeded the usual length ; but of specific distinctions 
there is no indication. The superstitious Indians assign extra 
ordinary powers to everything that departs from the common 
course ; the black ounce is, accordingly, supposed to possess 
singular properties. The yana chinca holds a prominent place 
in the religious ceremonies of some of the Indian races. 

Turning from these fierce natives of the forest, we will now 
take a glimpse at the peaceful inhabitants of those umbrageous 
regions. In the hollow stems of trees, or among their canopied 
branches, are found the timid marsupial animals (Did. impavida, 
and noctivaga, Tsch.). These animals remain in obscure holes 
until the sun sinks beneath the horizon, when they slip out in 
search of insects and fruit. Not unfrequently they penetrate 
into the slightly guarded Indian huts, creeping into every corner, 
until at last they are caught in traps baited with pieces of banana 
and pine-apple. The lofty Terebinthacece, with their walnut- 
like fruit, are inhabited by swarms of squirrels, which strongly 
remind the European of his own woods. Numbers of the mouse 
family, from the small tree-mouse (Drymomys parvulus, Tsch.) 
to the large, loathsome, spinous rat (Ecliinomys kptosoma, Wagn.) 
swarm over all the Montanas, and love to approximate to the 
dwellings of man. These animals destroy the gathered harvest, 
and even in these remote regions they become a plague. It is 
a striking fact, that certain animals are almost inseparable from 


man. f They keep with him, or follow him wherever he settles. 
The mouse genus is one of these. On the coast, mice are not 
the same as on the mountains, and in the forests they are again 
different. Everywhere they leave their original dwelling-places, 
which they exchange for an abode with man. As the mouse 
and the rat attack the gathered fruits of the earth, the agouti 
preys on those yet standing in the field. These animals are 
seldom found in the depths of the forest, but more frequently on 
its edge near the chacras of the Indians. Shortly before sunset 
they leave the thickets, and stealthily repair to the maize, yucca, 
and anana fields, where they scratch up the root and eat the 
grain and fruit ; but the slightest noise drives them back to their 
holes. In the deeper recesses of the forest resounds the monoto 
nous, drawling cry of the sloth. Here we have a symbol of life 
under the utmost degree of listlessness, and of the greatest insen 
sibility in a state of languid repose. This emblem of misery 
fixes itself on an almost leafless bough, and there remains de 
fenceless ; a ready prey to any assailant. Better defended is 
the scale-covered armadillo, with his coat of mail. Towards 
evening he burrows deep holes in the earth, and searches for the 
larvae of insects, or he ventures out of the forest, and visits the 
yucca fields, where he digs up the well-flavored roots. The 
ant-eater rakes up with his long curved claws the crowded 
resorts of ants, stretches out his long, spiral, and adhesive tongue, 
into the midst of the moving swarm, and draws it back covered 
with a multitude of crawling insects. 

In the soft marshy grounds, or in the damp shady recesses of 
the forests, the heavy tapir reposes during the heat of the day ; 
but when the fresh coolness of evening sets in, he roves through 
the forest, tears the tender twigs from the bushes, or seeks food 
in the grass-covered Pajonales. Sometimes a multitude of 
tapirs sally from the forests into the cultivated fields, to the great 
alarm of the Indians. A broad furrow marks the tract along 
which they have passed, and the plants they encounter in their 
progress are trampled down or devoured. Such a visit is par 
ticularly fatal to the coca fields ; for the tapirs are extremely 
fond of the leaves of the low-growing coca plant, and they often, 


in one night, destroy a coca field which has cost a poor Indian 
the hard labor of a year. 

Flocks of the umbilical hog, or peccary, traverse the level 
Montanas. If one of them is attacked by the hunter, a whole 
troop falls furiously on him, and it is only by promptly climbing 
up a tree that he can escape ; then, whizzing and grunting, 
they surround the stem, and with their snouts turn up the earth 
round the root, as if intending to pull down the tree and so get 
at their enemy. The stag lurks in the thicket to withdraw from 
the eyes of the greedy ounce ; but towards evening he leaves 
his hiding place, and sometimes strays beyond the boundary of 
the forest ; he ventures into the maize fields of the plantations, 
where he tarries until night is far advanced. 

The same diversity of nature and habits is seen in the nume 
rous hosts of birds that inhabit the leafy canopies of the forest. 
On the loftiest trees, or on detached rocks, eagles, kites, and fal 
cons, build their eyries. The most formidable of these birds of 
prey, both for boldness and strength, the Morplmus harpyia, Cab., 
darts down on the largest animals, and fears not to encounter the 
fiercest inhabitants of the forest. The owl (Noctua, Scops, 
Strix), and the goat-milker (Caprimulgus, Hydropsalis, Chordiles), 
fly with softly flapping wings to their hunting quarters to sur 
prise their victims while asleep. In the hilly parts of the Mon 
tanas the black ox-bird (Ceplialopterus ornatus, Geoff.), the Toro- 
pislm of the Indians, fills the forest with his distant bellow, simi 
lar to the roaring of a bull. The Tunqui* inhabits the same dis 
trict. This bird is of the size of a cock ; the body is bright red, 
but the wings are black. The head is surmounted by a tuft of 
red feathers, beneath which the orange bill projects with a slight 
curve. It lives sociably with other birds in thickets, or among 
Cinchona trees, the fruit of which is part of its food. Its harsh 

* Rupicola peruviana, Ch. Dum. The color of the female is reddish 
*>rown, and she is named by the natives Tunqui mulato ; the male is 
called Tunqui Colorado. In some parts of the Montana the CephaJopterus 
ornatus is called Yana Tunqui. Thus, even the Indians have observed 
the relationship of these birds, which, classed according to our system of 
natural history, actually belong to one family, the Jlmpelida. Their affi 
nity is indicated very correctly by the Indian name. 


cry resembles the grunt of the hog, and forms a striking contrast 
to its beautiful plumage. Numberless fly-catchers and shrikes 
Muscicapida and Laniada) hover on tree and bush, watching for 
the passing insects, which they snatch up with extraordinary 
dexterity. Finches twitter on the summits of the loftiest trees 
beyond the reach of the hunter s shot : they are distinguished, 
like the Ampelida, who, however, live amongst the lower bushes, 
by the lively and almost dazzling colors of their feathers. In 
modest plumage of cinnamon-brown, with head and neck of dark 
olive, the Organista* raises, in the most woody parts of the 
forest, her enchanting song, which is usually the prognostic of an 
approaching storm. The tender, melancholy strains and the 
singular clearness of the innumerable modulations charm the ear 
of the astonished traveller, who, as if arrested by an invisible 
power, stops to listen to the syren, unmindful of the danger of 
the threatening storm. On old decayed stumps of trees the busy 
creeperf and the variegated woodpecker are seen pecking the 
insects from under the loose bark, or by their tapping bring them 
out of their concealed crevices ; while the red-tailed potter-bird 
(Opetiorynclms rufaandus, Pr. Max.) builds his dwelling of pot 
ter s clay, or loam, as firmly as if it were destined to last for 
ever. The pouched starlingsj hang their nests, often four or 
five feet long, on the slender branches of trees, where they swing 
to and fro with the slightest breath of wind. Like a dazzling 
flash of colored light the colibri (humming-bird) appears and dis 
appears. No combination of gorgeous coloring can exceed that 
which is presented in the plumage of the golden-tailed humming 
or fly-bird (Trocliilus chrysurus, Cuv.) which haunts the warm 
primeval forests, but it is still more frequently found in the pure 
atmosphere of the ceja-girded Montafias. The silky cuckoo 
(Trogon heliothrix, Tsch.) retires into the thickest masses of 

* The Organistas of Peru, Brazil, and Guiana, &c., mentioned by so 
many travellers, all belong to the family of the Troglodytinse, to the 
two genera, Troglodytes, Vieill, and Cyphorhinus, Cab. The Peruvian 
Organista above alluded to, is the Troglodytes Icucophrys, Tsch. In Guiana 
it appears to be the Cyphorhinus carinatut, Cab. 

f Xenops, Jlnabatcs, Dendrorolaptcs, and many other kinds of Capita 
and Picus. 

J These are different kinds of Cassicus and Icterus, 


foliage, from which its soft rose-colored plumage peeps out like 
a flower. The cry of the voracious chuquimbis* accompanies 
the traveller from his first steps in the Montanas to his entrance 
into the primeval forests, where he finds their relative, Dioste de."\ 
This bird accompanies its significant cry by throwing back its 
head and making a kind of rocking movement of its body. The 
Indians, who are always disposed to connect superstitious ideas 
with the natural objects they see around them, believe that some 
great misfortune will befall any one who may shoot this bird, 
because it utters the sacred word, Dios. Long trains of green 
parrots fill the air with their noisy chattering. One kind of 
these birds (Ps. mercenarius, Tsch.) is remarkable for regular 
migrations. Every morning they sally forth in flocks from the 
upper to the lower forests, where they pass the day, and they 
regularly return before sunset to their roosting-places. From 
year to year these parrots leave their night quarters daily at the 
same hour, and return with equal punctuality before sunset. 
This regularity of departing and returning has caused the natives 
to give them the name of Jornaleros (day-laborers). From the 
depth of the forests sounds often arise which resemble human 
voices, and the astonished hunter then believes that he is in the 
vicinity of his companions, or, perhaps, of hostile Indians. He 
eagerly listens, and it is only when well acquainted with the 
sounds of the winged inhabitants of the woods that he can recog 
nise the melancholy tones of the wood-pigeons (C. infuscata, 
Licht. ; C. melancholica, Tsch.). When day begins to depart, 
groups of the pheasant-like HachahuallpaJ assemble, and with the 
cry of Ven acd, Ven acd, summon their distant companions. 

Not only are the trees of the forests peopled with myriads of 
birds, but the earth has also its feathered inhabitants, who scl- 

* Kinds of Pteroglossus. Those most frequently met with in the Mon 
tanas are the Pt. atrogularis, Sturm ; Pt. cceruleocinctus, Tsch. (Aula- 
corhynchus, Orb.) ; and Pt.Derbianus, Gould. 

f Dios te de signifies May God give it thee. The sound which is inter 
preted, Dios te de resembles very much the cry of most of the Toucans, 
or pepper-eaters. 

J Several kinds of Penelope. 

The cry oJ this bird closely resembles the Spanish words Ven acd 
(Come hither). 


dom soar above the level of the soil. They build their nests 
among the roots and fallen branches, and depend for movement 
more on their feet than on their wings. Among those members 
of the winged tribe, who show no disposition to soar into the 
regions of air, we find here the turcassa, a pigeon with richly- 
shaded plumage ; the beautifully speckled toothed fowl (Odon- 
tophorus spedosus, tsch.), and short-tailed grass fowl, or crake,* 
whose flesh when cooked is delicately white and finely flavored. 
In marshy places and on the slimy banks of rivers, the jabiru 
(Mycteria amencana, L.) loves to wade, together with the rose- 
colored spoon-bill (Platalea ajaja, L.) ; the fish-devouring ibis 
(Tantalus loculator, L.), the curved-billed snipe (Rhynclwea Hila- 
rea, Val.), the party-colored cranes, plovers, land-rails, shrites, 
and even sea-swallows. f In the rivers there are ducks : these 
birds are, perhaps, carried down by the currents from the Andes, 
or, possibly, they fly in great trains from the inner waters of 

Of the amphibia in the principal forests of Peru, only the great 
fresh-water tortoise (Hydraspis expansa, Fitz.) is useful to the 
natives. On the sandy banks of rivers this animal buries its 
eggs, from which the Indians extract oil : its flesh, also, supplies 
well-flavored food. All other animals of this class are objects of 
terror, or at least of aversion, to the Indians. In the warm sand 
of the river banks, lies the lazy caiman .f He keeps his jaws 
wide open, only closing them to swallow the innumerable flies 
which he catches on his tongue. To the helplessness of these 
animals when on land, the natives have to be thankful that they 
are not the most dangerous scourges of the forest : in water, their 
boldness and swiftness of motion are fearful. The number of 
lizards here is not great, nor do they attain so considerable a 
size as in other equatorial regions. The serpents are to be 
feared, and on approaching them, it is not easy to decide at the 
first view whether they belong to a poisonous or innoxious species. 
In the forests, where the fallen leaves lie in thick, moist layers, 
the foot of the hunter sinks deep at every step. Multitudes of 

* Seven species of Crypturus. 

f Sterna erythrorhynchos, Prince Max., St. magnirostris, Licht. 

| Champs a fissipes, sclerops et nigra, Wagl. 


venomous amphibia are hatched in the half-putrescent vegetable 
matter, and he who inadvertently steps on one of these animals 
may consider himself uncommonly fortunate if he can effect his 
retreat without being wounded. But it is not merely in these 
places, which seem assigned by nature for their abode, that loath 
some reptiles are found : they creep between the roots of laige 
trees, under the thickly interwoven brushwood, on the open grass 
plots, and in the maize and sugar-cane fields of the Indians : nay, 
they crawl even into their huts, and most fortunate is it for the 
inhabitants of those districts that the number of the venomous, 
compared with the innoxious reptiles, is comparatively small. 
Of the poisonous serpents, only a few kinds are known whose 
bite is attended with very dangerous consequences. The Miua- 
marUj or Jergon (Lachesis picta, Tsch.), is, at most, three feet 
long, with a broad, heart-shaped head, and a thick upper lip. It 
haunts the higher forests, while in those lower down his place is 
filled by his no less fearful relative Flammon (Lachesis rlwmbeata, 
Prince Max.), which is six or seven feet in length. These ser 
pents are usually seen coiled almost in a circle, the head thrust 
forward, and the fierce, treacherous-looking eyes glaring around, 
watching for prey, upon which they pounce with the swiftness 
of an arrow ; then, coiling themselves up again, they look tran 
quilly on the death-struggle of the victim. It would appear that 
these amphibia have a perfect consciousness of the dreadful 
effect of their poisonous weapon, for they use it when they are 
neither attacked nor threatened, and they wound not merely ani 
mals fit for their food, but all that come within their reach. 
More formidable than the two snakes just described, but happily 
much less common, is the brown, ten-inch long viper.* It is 
brown, with two rows of black circular spots. The effect of its 
bite is so rapid, that it kills a strong man in two or three minutes. 
So convinced are the natives of its inevitably fatal result, that 
they never seek any remedy ; but immediately on receiving the 
wound, lay themselves down to die. In the Montanas of Pangoa 
this viper abounds more than in any other district, and never 

* Echidna ocellata, Tsch. This is the only species of the viper family 
Belonging to South America, as yet known. 


without apprehension do the Cholos undertake their annual jour- 
ney for the coca harvest, as they fear to fall victims to the bite 
of this viper. The warning sound of the rattlesnake is seldom 
heard in the hot Montanas, and never in the higher regions. 

Nature, who in almost all things has established an equi 
librium, supplies the natives with remedies against the bite of the 
serpent. One of the cures most generally resorted to is the root 
of the amarucachu (Polianthcs tubcrosa, L.), cut into slips and 
laid upon the wound. Another is the juice of the creeping plant 
called vejuco de huaco (Mikania Huaco, Kth.), which is already 
very widely celebrated. This latter remedy was discovered by 
the negroes of the equatorial province, Choco. They remarked 
that a sparrow-hawk, called the huaco, picked up snakes for 
its principal food, and when bitten by one it flew to the vejuco 
and ate some of the leaves. At length the Indians thought 
of making the experiment on themselves, and when bitten by 
serpents they drank the expressed juice of the leaves of the ve 
juco, and constantly found that the wound was thereby rendered 
harmless. The use of this excellent plant soon became general ; 
and in some places the belief of the preservative power of the 
vejuco juice was carried so far that men in good health were 
inoculated with it. In this process some spoonfuls of the ex 
pressed fluid are drunk, and afterwards some drops are put into 
incisions made in the hands, feet, and breast. The fluid is 
rubbed into the wounds by fresh vejuco leaves. After this ope 
ration, according to the testimony of persons worthy of credit, the 
bite of the poisonous snake fails for a long time to have any evil 
effect. Besides the two plants mentioned above, many others 
are used with more or less favorable results. The inhabitants of 
the Montana also resort to other means, which are too absurd to 
be detailed here ; yet their medicines are often of benefit, for 
their operation is violently reactive. They usually produce the 
effect of repeated emetics, and cause great perspiration. There 
is much difference in the modes of external treatment of the 
wound, and burning is often employed. I saw an Indian apply 
to his wife s foot, which had been bitten, a plaster, consisting of 
moist gunpowder, pulverised sulphur, and finely-chopped tobacco, 
mixed up together. He laid this over the wounded part and set 


fire to it. This application, in connexion with one of the nau 
sea-exciting remedies taken inwardly, had a successful result. 

Innoxious snakes* wind on tendriiled climbing plants, or lie 
like necklaces of coral on the brown decayed leaves (Elap. 
ajlnis, Fitz.). Where the branches of rivers enter the gloomy 
forests and form little narrow lagunes, over which the high trees 
spread in vaulted cupolas almost impervious to the light of day, 
there dwells the powerful giant snake (Eunectes murinus, Wagl.), 
called by the Indians, in their figurative language, yacuma?nan, 
" mother of the waters." Stretched in listless repose, or winding 
round the stem of an old tree, bathing her tail in the cool lagune, 
she watches wistfully for the animals of the forest who come to 
the waters to quench their thirst. Whilst she gazes at her 
distant prey, the fascinating power of her eyes seems to subdue 
the trembling victim, and, unable even to attempt escape, he 
falls an easy sacrifice. 

The amphibia of the frog species, which lie concealed in 
silent repose during the day, raise, after sunset, their far-sound 
ing voices. The violet colored throat- bladder (Cystignathus 
silvestris, Tsch.) maintains his loud, uniform croak beneath the 
bushes, or penetrates into the huts of the inhabitants. The 
trapichero, or sugar-mill frog, is a large species,- almost half a 
foot in length. Its croak resembles very much the grating 
sound caused by the working of a sugar mill, for which reason 
the natives have given it the name of trapichero, or the sugar" 
miller. The croaking of these frogs, whose manifold tones blend 
together in confused union, augments not a little the distressing 
dreariness of a forest night. 

Of the numerous species of insects which swarm in these 
regions, few are remarkable for beauty j but many fix attention 
by their peculiar habits. The bites and stings of numbers of 
them are very dangerous, and it requires much caution to guard 
against their attacks. 

Variegated butterflies flutter noiselessly among the spreading 
branches of the trees, or sun themselves on the warm masses of 
fallen leaves. The most remarkable of these butterflies is the 

* Sphenocephalus melanogenys, Tsch. ; Lygophis Reginae, Wagl. ; L 
taeniurus, Tsch. ; L. elegans, Tsch 


large atlas, whose brilliant blue tints shine out with lustrous 
radiance in the dim light of the forest. Along the banks of 
rivers, and especially in hot marshy spots, small musquitoes swarm. 
The bite of this animal produces an intolerable burning sensa 
tion, and often causes considerable inflammation. But more 
troublesome, and also much more numerous, are the stinging-flies 
(sancudos). On my first arrival in the Montana, I lay several 
days exceedingly ill in consequence of severe swelling of the 
head and limbs, caused by the bites of these insects. To the 
inhabitant of the forest the sancudos are an incessant torment. 
In no season of the year, in no hour of the day or night, is there 
any respite from their attacks. Rubbing the body with unctuous 
substances, together with the caustic juicesof certain plants, and 
at night enclosing one s self in a tent made of tucuyo (cotton cloth), 
or palm-tree bast, are the only means of protection against their 
painful stings. The clothes commonly worn are not sufficient, 
for they are perforated by the long sting of the larger species, 
particularly of the much-dreaded huir-pasimi-sancudo (Lip-gnat). 
Regularly every evening at twilight fresh swarms of these mis 
chievous insects make their appearance. 

The ticks (iwdes) are a class of insects destined by nature for 
the suction of plants ; but they often forsake trees, shrubs, and 
grasses, to fasten on man and other animals. With their long 
sharp stings they make punctures, in which they insert their 
heads, and thereby occasion very painful sores. These insects 
appear to have no preference for any particular class of animals. 
They are often found on the hair of dead mammalia, and among 
the feathers of birds which have been shot ; even the toad, the 
frog, and the scaly lizard are not spared by them. Much more 
troublesome than these insects are the antanas, which are not 
visible to the naked eye. They penetrate the surface of the 
skin, and introduce themselves beneath it, where they propagate 
with incredible rapidity ; and when some thousands of them 
are collected together, a blackish spot appears, which quickly 
spreads. If these insects are not destroyed when they first 
introduce themselves into the punctures, they multiply with incal 
culable rapidity, destroying the skin, and all the tender parts in 
contact with it. Washing with brandy, which is often found to 


be a remedy against the less mischievous isancos, is not sufficient 
for the removal of the antanas. For their extirpation the only 
effectual remedy is frequently bathing the part affected with a 
mixture of spirits of wine and corrosive sublimate. 

Who can describe the countless myriads of ants which swarm 
through the forests? Every shrub is full of creeping life, and 
the decayed vegetation affords harbor for some peculiar kinds of 
these insects. The large yellow puca-cici is seen in multitudes 
in the open air, and it even penetrates into the dwellings. This 
insect does not bite, but its crawling creates great irritation to 
the skin. The small black yana-cici, on the contrary, inflicts 
most painful punctures. A very mischievous species of stinging 
ant is the black suncliiron. This insect inflicts a puncture with 
a long sting, which he carries in the rear of his body. The 
wound is exceedingly painful, and is sometimes attended by 
dangerous consequences. My travelling companion, C. Klee, 
being stung by one of these ants, suffered such severe pain and 
fever, that ho was for a short while delirious. A few nights after- 
wards, a similar attack was made on myself during sleep. It 
suddenly awoke me, and caused me to start up with a convulsive 
spring. I must confess that I never, in my whole life, expe 
rienced such severe pain as I did at that moment. 

A most remarkable phenomenon is exhibited by the swarms 
of the species called the naui-huacan-$ici,* the great wandering 
ant. They appear suddenly in trains of countless myriads, and 
proceed forward in a straight direction, without stopping. The 
small, the weak, and the neuters are placed in the centre, while 
the large and the strong flank the army, and look out for prey. 
These swarms, called by the natives Chacus, sometimes enter a 
hut and clear it of all insects, amphibia, and other disagreeable 
guests. This work being accomplished, they again form them 
selves into a long train, and move onwards. The united force 
of these small creatures is vast, and there is no approach to the 
fabulous, when it is related that not only snakes, but also large 
mammalia, such as agoutis, armadillas, &c., on being surprised 

* From haul, the eye, huacay, to cry, and gi$i, the ant ; so called by 
the Indians, because the pain of its numerous stings brings tears into the 


by them, are soon killed. On the light dry parts of the higher 
Montanas we find the large conical dwellings of the termes so 
firmly built, that they are impenetrable even to rifle shot. They 
sometimes stand singly, sometimes together, in long lines. In 
form they strongly resemble the simple, conical Puna huts. 

Before leaving the animal kingdom of these forest regions, 
which I have here sketched only briefly and fragmentally, I 
must notice two insects, the Cucaracha and the Chilicabra, species 
of the Cockroach (Blatta). They are exceedingly numerous and 
troublesome. The Cucaracha, which more particularly infests 
the deep regions of the forest, is an inch and a half long, and 
above half an inch broad; it is reddish brown, with a yellow 
neck. The Chilicabra, though smaller, is more mischievous, by 
reason of its greater numbers. They settle in the huts, where 
they destroy provisions, gnaw clothes, get into beds, and into the 
dishes at meal time. These insects defy every precaution 
that can be taken against their tormenting attacks. Luckily, 
nature has provided enemies for their destruction. Among these 
is a small reddish yellow ant, called by the Indians, the Pucchu- 
fifi, a useful member of the ant family, for it pursues and 
destroys the mischievous cockroaches. There is also a very 
elegant little bird, called the Cucarachero (Troglodytes audax, 
Tsch.) which wages war against these insects. On seizing one 
of them it first bites off the head, then devours the body, and 
throws away the tough wings. These operations being com 
pleted, it hops to the nearest bush, and tunes its melodious song, 
the sounds of which closely resemble the words " Acdbe la 
tareaf a name which the Indians give to this bird.* I could 
yet fill many pages with descriptions of insects which are 
dangerous or troublesome, and among them are included the 
julus, measuring six inches in length, the large black and red 
scorpion, not forgetting the numerous poisonous wasps and the 
cicadas. However, those which have been noticed will suffice 

* " Jlcabe la tared" may be translated " My task is finished." But the 
Indians are not very consistent in their interpretations of the song of the 
Cucarachero ; for in some districts, they contend that it repeats the words 
Casa te Soltera, " Go and get married, Maiden." 


to afford an idea of the ever-active movements of animal life in 
the forests. 

Willingly would I take a view of the vegetation of the virgin 
forests, and attempt to sketch its progressive developments and 
alternations from the hilly Montanas of the eastern declivities of 
the Andes to the humid level banks of the larger rivers ; but 1 
do not feel myself competent to undertake a labor to which 
former travellers intimately acquainted with the world of plants 
have already rendered full justice.* Being devoted to the study 
of zoology, and, unfortunately, too little familiar with botany, I 
have confined myself to a description of the general impression 
produced by the luxuriant growth of the soil, without entering 
into the individualities of the vegetation. In the more highly 
situated Montanas, where the cinchona is found in the place of 
its nativity, the gigantic orchidae, the numerous fern plants, the 
tree-like nettles, the wonderful bignonias, and the numerous, 
impenetrable complications of climbing plants, powerfully rivet 
the attention of the observer. Lower down, in the lighter forest 
soil, amidst numerous shrubs and climbers, the eye delights to 
dwell on the manifold forms of the stately palm, on the terebin- 
thacese, on the thickly-leaved balsam-yielding leguminosse, on 
the luxuriant laurels, on the pandanese or the large-leaved heli- 
conias, and on the solanese, with their gigantic blossoms and 
thousands of flowers. Descending still further, the flat lands of 
the forest assume a dark and gloomy aspect. The massive foli 
age of trees overarches stems which are the growth of centuries, 
and form a canopy almost impervious to the light of day. On 
the slimy soil no small shrub uprears its head, no flowering plant 
unfolds its blossom. The mighty trees stand alone, and erect in 
rows, like gravestones in a churchyard ; and the child of dark 
ness the rapidly-shooting mushroom finds genial nurture on 
the warm humid earth. 

* A. von Humboldt, von Martius, and, in particular, Pb ppig, who has 
published a narrative of his journey through Peru, distinguished by its 
precision, and written in a style so elegant and simple that its perusal 
affords the utmost interest and pleasure. 



Mon ,ana of San Carlos de Vitoc Villages Hacienda of Maraynioc the 
Coca Plant Mode of Cultivating and Gathering it Mastication of Coca 
Evil Consequences of its excessive Use Its Nutritious Qualities In 
dian Superstitions connected with the Coca Plant Suggestions for its 
Introduction in the European Navies Fabulous animal called the Car- 
bunculo The Chunchos Missions to Cerro de la Sal Juan Santos 
Atahuallpa The Franciscan Monks Depopulation of Vitoc. 

TIIE Montana of San Carlos de Vitoc is, without exception, one 
of the most interesting districts of Peru. It has on the one side, 
and at a short distance, the populous villages of the Sierra, and 
on the other it borders on the forests, through which the wild In 
dians range in their hunting excursions. It was formerly the 
principal key to the missionary stations of the Pampa del Sacra 
mento, the Chanchamayo, Perenc, and Upper Ucayali. It is only 
twenty leagues distant from Tarma, from whence the road leads 
through the fertile valley Acobamba, to Palca. Eastward of the 
latter place are the ruins of a fort, which in former times must 
have been a place of considerable importance. The wild Indians 
have repeatedly made hostile sallies from their forests, and it is 
only by this bulwark, which, with four small field-pieces, com 
pletely defends the narrow valley, that they have been checked 
in their advance on Tarma. An exceedingly steep path runs 
about a league and a half up the acclivity ; then, becoming some 
what more level, it extends to the base of the crest, which at that 
part is about 14,000 feet above the level of the sea. Here the 
aspect of the Andes is by no means so imposing as that of the 
Cordillera, for the glaciers and steep rocky summits are wanting. 
The highest peaks rise only about 200 feet above the crest. As 
in the Cordillera, the eastern declivity inclines much more gently 
than the western, but the road is marshy, and is interspersed 


with large hollows, into which the mules often fall ard are silled. 
After passing over the Andes, two leagues further, we come to 
the hacienda Maraynioc, where numerous herds of cattle are 
kept. Round the hacienda there are potato plantations, and the 
potatoes reared here are so excellent, that they are celebrated 
throughout the whole Sierra. Every morning the sky is ob 
scured by heavy clouds ; it rains regularly two days in the 
week, and there are frequent falls of snow yet notwithstanding 
this excessive humidity, a bad harvest is an event never to be 
apprehended. The cultivation of maize is, however, found to be im 
practicable here, for soon after germination the ears rot. A small 
stream flows past the hacienda, and after a course of about three 
leagues, it reaches the Montana de Vitoc. Formerly, the road 
ran close along the bank of this stream, but in consequence of the 
repeated depopulation of Vitoc, it became neglected, and at length 
impassable. The way is now over the Cuchillo, or sharp edge 
of a mountain ridge, and it must be at least four times longer than 
the course formerly taken. From Maraynioc the road proceeds, 
for the length of a league, through a valley overgrown with brush 
wood, and then rises to a lateral branch of the Andes, which is 
almost as high as the main chain. The Indians call this ridge, 
Munam rimacunan (" Thou shalt not speak !"), for a heavy wind, 
accompanied by drifting snow, blows constantly, and renders it 
scarcely possible to open the mouth to utter a word. From Ma- 
narimacunan, downwards, to the lower Montana, the road passes 
over stones laid in echelon form, and through a very slippery hol 
low way, which descends rapidly downward, and is surrounded 
by almost impenetrable woods ; the only open and level place is 
the field of Chilpes, which is a few hundred paces long. 

Here it is highly interesting to contemplate the rapid increase 
of vegetation, and the varied changes in the animal world. From 
the brink of a ridge where only feeble vegetation can be seen, 
we descend a few leagues and speedily find ourselves in the re 
gion of the Cinchona tree, and in the evening we are among lofty 
palms. The first human dwellings seen on entering the Montana 
are half a dozen small huts, forming the hamlet Amaruyo, for 
merly called Sibis, and immediately after we come to the village 
of Vitoc. It consists of about fifty wretched .huts, and has a 


small church, in which worship is performed twice a year for 
the inhabitants of the whole valley. 

Vitoc is surrounded by two rivers, which unite in a sharp an 
gle, called the Tingo, and which separate the valley from the 
territory of the wild Indians. The valley is deep, and the sur 
rounding heights are broken by many quebradas. The soil is 
very fruitful, and the locality is less than some others infested 
with troublesome insects ; yet it is but scantily peopled, for, be 
sides the two villages and the Hacienda of Maraynioc, already 
mentioned, it contains only a few scattered chacras. The inha 
bitants of this, the most favored district of the Montanas, scarcely 
amount to 200. The villagers employ themselves chiefly in the 
cultivation of pines, which are sent to Lima. The Indians of 
Palca and Tapo bring them potatoes, salt, and butcher s meat, 
for which the villagers exchange their pine-apples. The fruit is 
conveyed by asses to the coast, where, however, it seldom arrives 
in good condition. The other productions of the Montana are 
maize, oranges, bananas, paltas, Spanish pepper, &c. ; but these 
articles are sold only in the Sierra. Each inhabitant of the vil 
lage cultivates his own piece of ground, which he can enlarge 
when he pleases ; but these people are too indolent to devote 
themselves seriously to agriculture. It is only when the governor 
in Tarma compels them to pay the annual contribution, that they 
make an effort to augment their earnings ; they then seek a 
market for the products of their cultivation, and sell them for 
ready money. Vitoc and some of the villages in its neighbor 
hood form altogether only one ecclesiastical community, whose 
pastor lives in Tarma the whole year round. He goes to Pucara 
only once in six or eight months, to read a couple of masses, and 
to solemnize marriages and christenings, but chiefly to collect 
fees for burials which may have taken place during his absence. 

The plantation of Pacchapata is of considerable extent, but 
produces very little. The system of repartimientos, already de 
scribed, by which the poor Indian is kept in a state of slavery by 
advances of clothing, meat, brandy, &c., is practised in this ha 
cienda to a great extent. The laborer who is set down in the 
plantation-book as a debtor for ten or twelve dollars, has a 
good chance of remaining during the rest of his life a tributary 


slave ; for if he tries by prolonged labor to relieve himself from 
the debt the owner of the plantation causes brandy to be made, 
and this is too great a temptation to be resisted by an Indian. 
The butcher s meat given to the laboring Indians in general con 
sists of ^Chalonas, that is, the dried flesh of sheep which have 
died in the haciendas of the hilly districts. For a meagre, tough, 
unwholesome chalona the Indian has to add a dollar and a half 
or two dollars to his debt, while a living sheep in the Sierra 
would not cost half the price. It is the same with other articles 
furnished by the haciendas. European importations, such as 
can be purchased at very low prices in the Sierra, are sold at 
high profits by the owners of plantations to the poor Indians, who 
have to repay them by long and severe labor. 

At Pacchapata, besides maize, yuccas, and fruits, sugar, cof 
fee, and coca are also cultivated. The sugar-cane grows in 
abundance, and is of good quality. An excellent kind of coffee 
is grown here ; the bean is slightly globular, and its color is a 
greenish blue. In former times the viceroy used to send the 
coffee of Vitoc as a highly-esteemed present to the court of Ma 
drid. The coca is also very fine, and yields three harvests in 
the year ; which, however, is only the case in a few of the Mon- 
tanas, as, for example, at Pangoa and Huanta. I may here sub 
join some notice of this highly interesting plant. 

The coca (Erythroxylon coca, Lam.) is a shrub about six feet 
in height, with bright green leaves and white blossoms. The 
latter are succeeded by small scarlet berries. It is raised from 
the seed, in garden-beds called almazigas. When the young 
shoots are one and a half or two feet- high, they are removed to 
regularly laid out coca fields (cocales^ where they are planted at 
the distance of about three spans from each other. The coca re 
quires humidity ; therefore, during the first year or two after it 
is planted in the fields, maize is sown between the matas, or 
young shoots, to screen them from the too great influence of the 
sun. When the leaves are ripe, that is to say, when on being 
bent they crack or break off, the gathering commences. The 
leaves are stripped from the branches, a task usually performed 
by women, and it requires great care lest the tender leaves and 
young twigs should be injured. In some districts, the Indians 


arc so v*ry careful in gathering the coca, that, instead of strip, 
ping off the leaves, they cut them from the stem by making an 
incision with their nails. The plant thus rendered leafless is 
soon again overgrown with verdant foliage. After being gather 
ed, the leaves are spread out on coarse woollen cloths and dried 
in the sun. The color of the leaves when dried is a pale green. 
The drying is an operation which likewise demands great care 
and attention, for if the leaves imbibe damp, they become dark 
colored, and then they sell for a much lower price than when 
they are green. The dry coca is f.nely packed in woollen sacks, 
and covered with sand. These sacks are of various sizes and 
colors, in different parts of the Montanas. In Huanuco they are 
grey or black, and when filled weigh from 75 to 80 pounds. In 
Vitoc they are grey and white, and contain 150 pounds. In 
Huanta and Anco they are small in size, and black or brown in 
color, and contain merely one aroba. In the Montanas of Uru- 
bamba, Calca, and Paucartambo, the coca leaves are put into 
small baskets called ceslos, and covered with sand. Great care 
is also requisite in the carriage of the coca, for if damp be al 
lowed to penetrate the sack, the leaves become hot, or as the na 
tives express it, Se calientan, and are thereby rendered useless. 
The Indians masticate the coca. Each individual carries a 
leathern pouch, called the huaHqui, or the chutpa, and a small 
flask gourd, called the ishcupuru. The pouch contains a supply 
of coca leaves, and the gourd is filled with pulverised unslaked 
lime. Usually four times, but never less than three times a day, 
the Indian suspends his labor, for the purpose of masticating 
coca. This operation (which is termed chacchar or") is 
performed in the following manner: some of the coca leaves, the 
stalks having been carefully picked off, are masticated until they 
form a small ball, or as it is called an acullico. A thin slip of 
damp wood is then thrust into the ishcupuru, or gourd, and when 
drawn out some portion of the powdered lime adheres to it. The 
acullico, or ball of masticated coca leaves, is, whilst still lying LD 
the mouth, punctured with this slip of wood, until the lime mix- 
ing with it, gives it a proper relish, and the abundant flow of saliva 
thus excited is partly expectorated and partly swallowed. When 
thp ball ceases to emit juice, it is thrown away, and a new one is 


formed by the mastication of a fresh monthfull of coca leaves. In 
Cerro de Pasco, and in places still further south, the Indians use, 
instead of unslaked lime, a preparation of the pungent ashes of the 
qumua (Chenopodium Quinua, L.). This preparation is called 
LIucta or Llipta. In using it a piece is broken off and masticat 
ed along with the acullico. In some of the Montafia regions the 
LIucta is made from the ashes of the musa root. The applica 
tion of the unslaked lime demands some precaution, for if it 
comes in direct contact with the lips and gums, it causes a very 
painful burning. During a fatiguing ride across the level 
heights, where, owing to the cold wind, I experienced a difficulty 
of respiration, my Arriero recommended me to chew coca, assur 
ing me that I would experience great relief from so doing. He 
lent me his huallqui, but owing to my awkward manner of using 
it, I cauterized my lips so severely that I did not venture on a 
second experiment. 

The flavor of coca is not unpleasant. It is slightly bitter, 
aromatic, and similar to the worst kind of green tea. When 
mixed with the ashes of the musa root it is somewhat piquant, 
and more pleasant to European palates than it is without that 
addition. The smell of the fresh dried leaves in a mass is almost 
overpowering ; but this smell entirely goes when they are packed 
in the sacks. All who masticate coca have a very bad breath, 
pale lips and gums, greenish and stumpy teeth, and an ugly 
black mark at the angles of the mouth. An inveterate coquero, 
or coca chewer, is known at the first glance. His unsteady gait, 
his yellow-colored skin, his dim and sunken eyes encircled by a 
purple ring, his quivering lips and his general apathy, all bear 
evidence of the baneful effects of the coca juice when taken in 
excess. All the mountain Indians are addicted more or less to 
the practice of masticating coca. Each man consumes, on the 
average, between an ounce and an ounce and a half per day, and 
on festival days about double that quantity. The owners of mines 
and plantations allow their laborers to suspend their work three 
times a day for the chacchar, which usually occupies upwards of 
a quarter of an hour ; and after that they smoke a paper cigar, 
which they allege crowns the zest of the coca mastication. Ho 
who irviulges for a time in the use of coca finds it difficult, indeed 


almost impossible, to relinquish it. This fact I saw exemplified 
in the cases of several persons of high respectability in Lima, 
who are in the habit of retiring daily to a private apartment for 
the purpose of masticating coca. They could not do this openly, 
because among the refined class of Peruvians the chacchar is 
looked upon as a low and vulgar practice, befitting only to the 
laboring Indians. Yet, Europeans occasionally allow themselves 
to fall into this habit ; and I knew two in Lima, the one an Italian 
and the other a Biscayan, who were confirmed coqueros in the 
strictest sense of the word. In Cerro de Pasco there are socie 
ties having even Englishmen for their members, which meet on 
certain evenings for the chacchar. In these places, instead of 
lime or ashes, sugar is served along with the coca leaves. A 
member of one of these clubs informed me that on the few first 
trials the sugar was found very agreeable, but that afterwards 
the palate required some more pungent ingredient. 

The operation of the coca is similar to that of narcotics ad 
ministered in small doses. Its effects may be compared to those 
produced by the thorn-apple rather than to those arising from 
opium. I have already noticed the consequences resulting from 
drinking the decoction of the datura.* In the inveterate coquero 
similar symptoms are observable, but in a mitigated degree. 1 
may mention one circumstance attending the use of coca, which 
appears hitherto to have escaped notice : it is, that after the mas 
tication of a great quantity of coca the eye seems unable to beai 
light, and there is a marked distension of the pupil. I have also 
observed this peculiarity of the eye in one who had drunk 
strong extract of the infusion of cjca leaves. In the effects con 
sequent on the use of opium and coca there is this distinction, 
that coca, when taken even in the utmost excess, never causes a 
total alienation of the mental powers or induces sleep ; but, like 
opium, it excites the sensibility of the brain, and the repeated 
excitement, occasioned by its intemperate use after a series of 
years, wears out mental vigor and activity. 

It is a well known fact, confirmed by long observation and ex 
perience, that the Indians who regularly masticate coca require 

* See page 189. 


but little food, and, nevertheless, go through excessive labor with 
apparent ease. They, therefore, ascribe the most extraordinary 
qualities to the coca, and even believe that it might be made 
entirely a substitute for food. Setting aside all extravagant and 
visionary notions on the subject, I am clearly of opinion that the 
moderate use of coca is not merely innoxious, but that it may 
even be very conducive to health. In support of this conclusion, 
I may refer to the numerous examples of longevity among Indians 
who, almost from the age of boyhood, have been in the habit of 
masticating coca three times a day, and who in the course of 
their lives have consumed no less than two thousand seven 
hundred pounds, yet, nevertheless, enjoy perfect health.* The 
food of the Indians consists almost exclusively of vegetable sub 
stances, especially roasted maize and barley converted into flour 
by crushing, which they eat without the admixture of any other 
substance. The continued use of this farinaceous food occa 
sions severe obstructions, which the well known aperient qualities 
of the coca counteract, and many serious diseases are thereby 
prevented. That the coca is in the highest degree nutritious, is 
a fact beyond dispute. The incredible fatigues endured by the 
Peruvian infantry, with very spare diet, but with the regular use 
of coca ; the laborious toil of the Indian miner, kept up, under 
similar circumstances, throughout a long series of years ; cer 
tainly afford sufficient ground for attributing to the coca leaves, 
not a quality of mere temporary stimulus, but a powerful nutri 
tive principle. Of the great power of the Indians in enduring 
fatigue with no other sustenance than coca, I may here mention 
an example. A Cholo of Huari, named Hatun Huamang, was 
employed by me in very laborious digging. During the whole 
time he was in my service, viz., five days and nights, he never 
tasted any food, and Jock only two hours sleep nightly. But a< 
intervals of two and a half or three hours, he regularly masti 
cated about half an ounce of coca leaves, and he kept an aculli- 

* I allude here to individuals (and such cases are by no means singular) 
who have attained the great age of 130. Supposing these Indians to have 
begun to masticate coca at ten years old, and calculate their daily consump 
tion as a minimum at one ounce, the result is the consumption of twenty- 
sevjn hundred weight, in 120 years. 


co continually in his mouth. I was constantly beside him, and 
therefore I had the opportunity of closely observing him. The 
work for which I engaged him being finished, he accompanied 
me on a two days journey of twenty-three leagues across the 
level heights. Though on foot, he kept up with the pace of my 
mule, and halted only for the cliaccliar. On leaving me, he de 
clared that he would willingly engage himself again for the same 
amount of work, and that he would go through it without food if 
I would but allow him a sufficient supply of coca. The village 
priest assured me that this man was sixty-two years of age, and 
that he had never known him to be ill in his life. 

The Indians maintain that coca is the best preventive of that 
difficulty of respiration felt in the rapid ascents of the Cordillera 
and the Puna. Of this fact I was fully convinced by my own 
personal experience. I speak here, not of the mastication of the 
leaves, but of their decoction taken as a beverage. When I was 
in the Puna, at the height of 14,000 feet above the level of the 
sea, I drank, always before going out to hunt, a strong infusion 
of coca leaves. I could then during the whole day climb the 
heights and follow the swift-footed wild animals without ex 
periencing any greater difficulty of breathing than I should have 
felt in similar rapid movement on the coast. Moreover, I did not 
suffer from the symptoms of cerebral excitement or uneasiness 
which other travellers have observed. The reason perhaps is, 
that I only drank this decoction in the cold Puna, where the 
nervous system is far less susceptible than in the climate of the 
forests. However, I always felt a sense of great satiety after 
taking the coca infusion, and I did not feel a desire for my next 
meal until after the time at which I usually took it. 

By the Peruvian Indians the coca plant is regarded as some 
thing sacred and mysterious, and it sustained an important part 
in the religion of the Incas. In all ceremonies, whether religious 
or warlike, it was introduced, for producing smoke at the great 
offerings, or as the sacrifice itself. During divine worship the 
priests chewed coca leaves, and unless they were supplied with 
them, it was believed that the favor of the gods could not be pro 
pitiated. It was also deemed necessary that the supplicator for 
divine grace should approach the priests with an Acullico in his 


mouth. It was believed that any business undertaken without 
the benediction of coca leaves could not prosper ; and to the shrub 
itself worship was rendered. During an interval of more than 
300 years Christianity has not been able to subdue the deep- 
rooted idolatry ; for everywhere we find traces of belief in the 
mysterious power of this plant. The excavators in the mines of 
Cerro de Pasco throw masticated coca on hard veins of metal, in 
the belief that it softens the ore, and renders it more easy to work. 
The origin of this custom is easily explained, when it is recol 
lected, that in the time of the Incas it was believed that the Coyas, 
or the deities of metals, rendered the mountains impenetrable, if 
they were not propitiated by the odor of coca. The Indians, 
even at the present time, put coca leaves into the mouths of dead 
persons, to secure to them a favorable reception on their entrance 
into another world, and when a Peruvian Indian on a journey 
falls in with a mummy, he, with timid reverence, presents to it 
some coca leaves as his pious offering. 

Soon after the conquest of Peru, when the Spaniards treated the 
Indians and all their customs with contempt, coca became an 
object of aversion to the whites. The reverence rendered by the 
natives to the coca plant induced the Spaniards to believe that it 
possessed some demoniacal influence. The officers of the govern 
ment and the clergy, therefore, endeavored, by all possible means, 
to extirpate its use, and this is one cause, hitherto overlooked, of 
the hatred with which the Indians regarded the Spaniards. In 
the second council held at Lima, in 1567, coca was described 
" as a worthless object, fitted for the misuse and superstition of 
the Indians;" and a royal decree of October 18, 1569, expressly 
declares that the notions entertained by the natives that coca 
gives them strength, is an " illusion of the devil" (una elusion 
del Dcmonio). The Peruvian mine owners were the first to dis 
cover the importance of the chacchar in assisting the Indians to 
go through their excessive labor, and they, together with the 
plantation owners, became the most earnest defenders of coca. 
The consequence was, that, in defiance of royal and ecclesias 
tical ordinances, its use increased rather than diminished. One 
of the warmest advocates of the plant was the Jesuit Don Antonio 
Julian, who, in a work entitled, " Perla de America," laments 


that coca is not introduced into Europe instead of tea and coffee. 
" It is," lie observes, " melancholy to reflect that the poor of 
Europe cannot obtain this preservative against hunger and thirst ; 
that our working people are not supported by this strengthening 
plant in their long-continued labors."* In the year 1793, Dr. 
Don Pedro Nolasco Crespo pointed out in a treatise the important 
advantages that would be derived from the use of the coca plant, 
if introduced into the European navies, and he expresses a wish 
that experiments of its utility in that way could be tried. Though 
it is not probable that Dr. Crespo s wish will ever be realized, yet 
there is little doubt that the use of coca as a beverage on board 
ship would be attended with very beneficial results. It would 
afford a nutritious refreshment to seamen in the exercise of their 
laborious duties, and would greatly assist in counteracting the 
unwholesome effects of salt provisions. As a stimulant it would 
be far less injurious than ardent spirits, for which it might be 
substituted without fear of any of the evil consequences experi 
enced by the coqueros. After a long and attentive observation 
of the effects of coca, I am fully convinced that its use, in 
moderation, is no way detrimental to health ; and that without 
it the Peruvian Indian, with his spare diet, would be incapable 
of going through the labor which he now performs. The coca 
plant must be considered as a great blessing to Peru. It is an 
essential means of preserving the nationality of the Indians, and 
in some measure mitigating the melancholy fate of that once 
great race which disease and excessive labor now threaten to 

In former times the cultivation of coca in the Montana do Vitoc 
was very considerable. Upwards of 4,000 arobas used to be 
annually forwarded to the market of Tarma. Now only fifty 
arobas are sent. Vitoc produces no fodder for horses or 
mules ; those animals, therefore, are very lean and feeble in 
this district, and are usually unfit for work after two years. 

* The worthy Padre forgets the high price that would be charged for 
coca in Europe. In Tarma and Huenuco the aroba (twenty-five pounds) 
costs at an average six Spanish dollars ; add to this the carriage to Lima, 
the freight to Europe, custom-house duties, &c., and this price would be 
nearly doubled. 


Indeed, they suffer so much from the attacks of the blood-suck- 
ing bat and the gad-fly (tabano ), that after being only a few weeks 
in the Montana de Vitoc, their strength is exhausted, and they 
are scarcely able to reach the Puna. Black cattle, on the con 
trary, thrive excellently ; but it is not possible to keep up herds, 
for the young calves are all devoured by the numerous animals 
of prey. The llamas, which the Cholos bring from Tapo to 
Vitoc, are so enfeebled and overcome by the journey, that on the 
second day after their arrival it is often found necessary to send 
them to a colder district. 

In this Montana the large animals of prey seldom approach 
human habitations, though sometimes the ounce pays them a visit, 
and the Cuguar descends from the Ceja. Other animals of the 
feline genus are very numerous, and their depredations render it 
impossible to breed poultry. Even the fabulous animal, called 
the carbunculo, is said to have been seen oftener than once in 
Vitoc. In almost every place I visited on the coast, in the Sierra, 
and in the Montafias, extraordinary stories concerning this animal 
were related ; and many persons even assured me they had seen 
him. The carbunculo is represented to be of the size of a fox, 
with long black hair, and is only visible at night, when it slinks 
slowly through the thickets. If followed, he opens a flap or valve 
in the forehead, from under which an extraordinary, brilliant, and 
dazzling light issues. The natives believe that this light proceeds 
from a brilliant precious stone, and that any fool hardy person who 
may venture to grasp at it rashly is blinded ; then the flap is let down, 
and the animal disappears in the darkness. Such are the stories 
related by the Indians ; and it appears that the belief of- the ex 
istence of the carbunculo has prevailed in Peru from the earliest 
times, and certainly before the conquest, so that its introduction 
cannot be attributed to the Spaniards. It is even prevalent among 
many of the wild Indian tribes, by whom the early missionaries 
were told the stories which they in their turn repeated about the 
animal. As yet nobody has been fortunate enough to capture 
such an animal, though the Spaniards always showed themselves 
very desirous to obtain possession of the precious jewel ; and the 
viceroys, in their official instructions to the missionaries, placed 
the carbunculo in the first order of desiderata. What animal 


may have served as a foundation for those fabulous stories, it is 
certainly difficult to decide ; probably a different one in each 
particular district. On the coast it may have been the anash 
(one of the mephitic animals), which seeks for his food only at 
night. I have often observed for a moment a singularly brilliant 
flashing in the eyes of that animal when irritated. 

The worst enemies of the delightful Montana de Vitoc are the 
wild Indians, who are only separated from the Christian Indians 
by the two rivers Aynamayo and Tullumayo. They belong to 
the ferocious race of the Chunchos, and in their savage manners 
they somewhat resemble the Casibos and Campas. They have 
their chief residence in Chibatizo, nine leagues from Pucara. 
Only three leagues from Pacchapata, at the confluence of the 
Chanchamayo and Tullumayo, they have a pretty large village ; 
and Palmapata, which they temporarily took possession of, is 
situated still nearer. They frequently extend their hunting ex 
cursions to the banks of the great rivers, and make inroads upon 
the territory of Vitoc, cruelly murdering all the Cholos they meet 
with. Any kind of friendly intercourse with them is impracticable. 
I took some pains to accomplish that object, but without success. 
While they were on their hunting expeditions I have left in their 
huts knives, fish-hooks, ear-rings, and other things. In return 
for these presents they left for me some of their edible roots, 
among which were yuccas, but all were poisoned, so that, had we 
not observed caution, I and my venturous companion, Klee, might 
have fallen victims to the treachery of these Indians. The 
Chunchos, when on their expeditions, are almost in a state of 
nudity. Sometimes they wear a short whitish-brown shirt with 
out sleeves. This garment, when worn by the chiefs, is red. 
Most of them dye their hair with achote (Bixa Orellana, L.), a 
deep vermilion, and paint the face and breast of the same color. 
Their weapons consist of a bow of chonta (Guilielma speciosa), 
with which they use two kinds of arrows. One kind are very 
long, with round points and barbs of chonta ; the others are 
shorter, and have points made of reed, which inflict deep wounds, 
very difficult to be healed. They also use the great wooden 
sword, the macana. A cross having been put up in the forest, they 
fastened to it a few days afterwards a macana and two arrows, as 


symbols of irreconcilable enmity to Christians. Their warlike 
instrument is a reed, two feet long and four inches broad, through 
which their howlings resound in horrible discord. 

It. is a custom with the inhabitants of Vitoc to undertake two 
expeditions every year against the Chunchos. They are the most 
laughable enterprises imaginable. All the Cholos of the valley, 
with the Alcalde at their head, or rather in the midst of them, 
proceed, armed with sticks, axes, forest knives, and two muskets,* 
to explore the banks of both rivers. The front ranks advance 
with drums beating, and a number of Indians carry large cala 
bashes filled with guarapo, to which they pay their earnest 
devotions every half hour. When by accident some of the 
Chunchos are seen, the Cholos fly with all the rapidity that terror 
can inspire, and cannot be got together again till they reach their 
village ; then they raise a tremendous shout, and when safe in 
their dwellings boast proudly of their heroic deeds. 

The Chunchos are in possession of a very rich bed of salt, some 
twelve or fourteen leagues from Vitoc, from whence they permit 
the neighboring tribes with whom they are at peace, to supply 
themselves with salt. Hostile tribes, such as the Campas and 
the Callisecas, sometimes attempt to carry away salt, and then a 
sanguinary contest ensues. This stratum of salt comes from the 
top of a hill, called the Cerro de la Sal, and it runs in the direc 
tion from south-west to north-east, to the length of nearly three 
leagues, covering a breadth of about thirty ells. The salt is 
mixed with red earth. It is probably a continuation of the great 
salt bed of Maynas, stretching eastward along the left bank of 
the Perene. It may be presumed that it does not extend as far 
as the immense Pajonal, as the Campas go for their salt to the 
Cerro de la Sal. 

In former times various attempts were made to convert the 

* The whole valley of Vitoc can furnish only two muskets, and these are 
in as xiseless a state as possible. As for powder, there is a constant want 
of it. During my residence in Vitoc I usually gave the Alcalde some of my 
powder when he went out with his Cholos, or when there was a firing on 
festival days. The want of a suitable number of muskets, and sufficient 
powder in the dangerous vicinity of the Chunchos, is characteristic of the 
improvidence of the inhabitants of Vitoc. 


Chunchos to Christianity ; and these attempts were partially suc 
cessful. The first missionary who ventured among them was 
the intrepid Fray Geronimo Ximenes. In 1635 he penetrated 
from Huancabamba to the Cerro de la Sal, and there preached 
the gospel in the language of the people. He built a chapel, and 
then directed his course south-west to Vitoc, where he founded 
the village San Buenaventura. Two years after he embarked 
on the Chanchamayo, with the intention of extending his mission 
to the Campas tribe, by whom he was killed, together with his 
companion, Fray Christoval Larios, and twenty-eight other Spa 
niards. Several missionaries subsequently proceeded to the 
Cerro de la Sal, and found favor with the natives, so that in 1640 
they had no less than seven villages of converted Chunchos, 
Amagas, and Campas ; but only a few years afterwards all the 
missionaries and soldiers were killed and the chapels were de 
stroyed. The Franciscan monks, inspired by their indefatigable 
zeal, ventured in 1671, on a new mission to the fatal Cerro de la 
Sal ; and they had the good fortune to found a village in which 
eight hundred Neophytes were collected. A second and smaller 
village was founded in the vicinity of the destroyed San Buena 
ventura, and named Santa Rosa de Quimiri ; but the avarice of 
some Spaniards who fancied there were gold mines in the Cerro 
de la Sal, induced them to get the missions withdrawn from the 
superintendence of the priests, and to turn the whole into a poli 
tical system. Then commenced the oppression of the Indians in 
those parts. The consequence was a great insurrection in 1674, 
when all the whites were massacred. Thus were the labors of 
the missionaries a second time annihilated. Every attempt for 
the conversion of Indians was for a long time fruitless, and 
the missionaries who ventured to approach them were shot. 
After the lapse of about thirty years, during which interval the 
Chunchos had fallen back to their original savage state, the 
founder of the Convent of Ocopa, Fray Francisco de San Jose, 
with four priests and two lay brothers, penetrated into the valley 
of Vitoc, and entered upon the territory of the Chunchos. At 
this time (1709) Vitoc was first peopled, and in the course 
of twenty years six large villages were built. In the year 1739 
these missions, again flourishing, counted ten Christian villages 


and three thousand baptized Indians. Three years afterwards 
the Indian insurrection, headed by the apostate Juan Santos, de 
stroyed all the missions of Central Peru. 

Juan Santos was an Indian born at Huamanga, and he claimed 
descent from the last of the Incas. This claim was probably 
well founded, for before the revolt he was called Atahuallpa, 
which was the name of the Inca put to death by Pizarro. Juan 
Santos was haughty, high spirited, and clever. In the year 1741 
he killed, in a quarrel, a Spaniard of high rank, and to elude the 
pursuit of justice, he fled to the forests. There he brooded over 
plans for taking vengeance on the oppressors of his country. 
He first addressed himself to the tribes of the Campas, and 
having gained them over, he proceeded to Quisopongo in the Pa- 
jonal. From thence, in the year 1742, he made his first attack 
on the mission of the Cerro de la Sal. The Spaniards had 
already been warned of the intended rising, but they considered 
it too unimportant to call for serious measures of repression ; and 
whilst lulling themselves in their imagined security, they were 
surprised and massacred by the Indians. The insurrection 
spread with incredible rapidity. Juan Santos himself led all the 
principal attacks. In one night he took the fortress of Quimiri 
with sixty-five men, all of whom were massacred in the most 
cruel manner. The \vell-defended fort of Paucartambo was 
next taken by a small number of Chunchos, commanded by Juan 
Santos. All the Christian churches were destroyed by the insur 
gents. The sacred images and the priests were tied together, 
and cast into the rivers ; the villages were burned, and the culti 
vated fields laid waste. The number of Spanish soldiers killed 
in this insurrection was 245 ; the number of priests, 26. In the 
course of a few weeks all the missions of central Peru were 
completely destroyed, and terror spread even to the mountains. 
The Spanish government found it necessary to adopt the most 
vigorous measures, for there was reason to fear that the moun 
tain Indians would revolt. Castles and forts were built on the 
frontiers of all the Montafias and strongly garrisoned ; but the 
insurrection did not extend further. The ultimate fate of Juan 
Santos Atahuallpa has never been satisfactorily ascertained. 
Some assert that he became a powerful ruler, and that as long 


as he lived the races of the Chunchos, Pacanes, Chichirrenes, 
Campas, and Simirinches, were united. On an old manuscript 
in the monastery of Ocopa I found a marginal note, in which it 
was said. " As to the monster, the apostate Juan Santos Atahu- 
allpa, after his diabolical destruction of our missions, the wrath 
of God was directed against him in the most fearful manner. 
He died the death of Herod, for his living body was devoured by 

Shortly after the tragical downfall of these missions, two priests, 
Fra Francisco Otasua and Fray Salvador Pando, visited the 
ruins of Quimiri, and endeavored to conciliate the rebels ; but 
in vain. After three months, during which they suffered dreadful 
ill treatment from the Chunchos, they returned to the monas 
tery of Ocopa. 

These missionaries were all monks of the order of San Fran- 
cisco. Their active zeal and heroic submission to any sacrifice 
in furtherance of the cause in which they were embarked must 
excite at once astonishment and admiration. Undaunted by in 
credible privations and laborious exertions in the pathless forests, 
without food or shelter ; undismayed by the continual apprehen 
sion of a violent and cruel death, they courageously obeyed the in 
ward impulse which inspired them to preach the gospel to the wild 
Indians. When intelligence was received of the violent death 
of one of the brotherhood, others immediately offered to supply 
the place of the victim, and the superiors of the order had much 
difficulty in restraining the zealous monks. In the central and 
northern missions of Peru, 129 Franciscan monks were murder 
ed by the wild Indians. Those who compose that number are 
recorded by name, but many others disappeared without leaving a 
trace of what had become of them, and of course they are not 
included in the list. The number of lay brethren who perished 
is much greater. It is indeed melancholy to reflect how little 
advantage has been obtained by the sacrifice of so many valu 
able lives. The missions have nearly all disappeared, and the In. 
dians have now retrograded into the savage state in which they 
were before the conquest of Peru. 

The Franciscan monks were mild and patient teachers. 
They proceeded on the principle of leaving the Christian re- 


ligion to act for itself, and they scorned to promote it by any 
kind of compulsion. The Dominicans, on the other hand, who 
came to Peru with the conquerors, preached Christianity with fire 
and sword. The Jesuits, who headed the missions of Southern Peru, 
adopted the one way or the other, as they found most advantage 
ous to the object they had in view. By this means they secured the 
attachment of the neophytes, and retained most of their conver 
sions. Many of the Jesuit missionaries were highly intelligent 
and well-informed men. We are indebted to them for important 
geographical and statistical information, and in particular for some 
philological works of great value, viz., a grammar and dictionary 
of the language of every tribe they converted. The Dominican 
monks, who were mere ignorant fanatics, sacrificed to their blind 
zeal for conversion all the monuments of the early civilization 
of the Peruvians, and restrained, rather than promoted, the intel 
lectual development of the people. The Franciscans, animated 
by pious inspiration, earnestly preached the doctrines of Christ 
to the wild inhabitants of the distant forests ; but they communi 
cated little information to the rest of world. A few imperfect 
maps, and some scanty notices on the manners and customs of the 
Indians, are the whole amount of their laical labors. 

In the year 1779 an attempt was again made to penetrate to 
the Cerro de la Sal, and a road was opened leading from Palca 
to Chanchamayo, where a fort was built ; but at the expiration 
of five years the government destroyed it, as continued irruptions 
of the Chunchos could not be checked. In 1784, the governor 
of Tarma, Don Juan Maria de Galvas, supported by the Superior 
of Ocopa, Fray Manuel Sobreviela, visited the valley of Vitoc, 
which had been abandoned since the Indian insurrection. The 
new village of San Teodoro de Pucara was founded, and the de 
stroyed fort, Santa Ana de Colla, was rebuilt. The Montana 
was soon peopled, and in a short time it contained upwards of 
forty haciendas and large chacras. The village of Sorriano, 
scarcely two leagues from Colla, was then inhabited by Chun 
chos, who showed a willingness to maintain friendly intercourse 
with the occupants of Vitoc, from whom they took meat, tools, 
and other things, which they repaid by agricultural labor. Un 
fortunately, the plantation owners soon began to take an undue 


advantage of this friendly intercourse, and to charge exorbitant 
prices for the articles required by the Indians. For a pin or a 
needle they demanded two days work, for a fishing-hook four, 
and for a wretched knife, eight, ten, or more. A rupture was 
the consequence. The Chunchos burned their own village, and 
returned again to Chanchamayo. Still, however, they continued 
on a sort of amicable footing with the Cholos, until one of the 
latter wantonly shot a Chuncho at a festival. The tribe then 
mustered in thousands to avenge the murder. They destroyed 
the Christian villages, and massacred all the inhabitants who 
were not able to fly. Thus was Vitoc once more depopulated : 
Cardenas, the military governor of Tarma, made a fresh endeavor 
to restore the cultivation of this fine valley. He made the road 
again passable, laid out the large plantation Chuntabamba, 
built and garrisoned the Colla fort. The site of the former 
Chuncho village, Sorriano, was converted into a cocal (or coca 
field), and the Montana began once more to assume a flour 
ishing aspect. Still, however, the Chunchos continued to harass 
their neighbors, particularly during the time of the coca harvest, 
which could not be gathered without military protection. During 
one of the harvests a laborer was shot by the wild Indians, 
which so terrified the Cholos, that they all fled to Sorriano. 
Soon after, Cardenas died, and the coco plantation being neglect 
ed, became a waste. A few years afterwards the hacienda of 
Pacchapata was laid out. During the war of independence the 
Spaniards destroyed Fort Colla, and the inhabitants of Vitoc 
were left without any means of defence against their savage 
enemies. The last attempt to reduce the Chunchos to subjection 
and order was made by a military expedition under the command 
of General Don Francisco de Paula de Otero, but owing to ill- 
arranged plans it totally failed. No more than twenty-five years 
have elapsed since the valley of Vitoc, with its rich plantations, 
was in the most flourishing prosperity. Now only faint traces 
of its past cultivation are discernible. 

The history of the Montana of Vitoc is the history of all the 
Montaftas of Peru. In all, we perceive the alternate rise and 
decline of cultivation and civilization, caused by the efforts of 
the missionaries, and the incursions of the wild Indians. Through- 


out all these districts the present condition exhibits a marked 
inferiority to the past, a circumstance which may be accounted 
for by the long-continued civil war, during the contest for inde 
pendence. Nevertheless, the internal tranquillity of the country, 
and the increasing population, suggest favorable prognostics for 
the future. 



Oppressions exercised by the Spaniards upon the Peruvian Indians The 
Repartimiento and the Mita Indian Insurrections Tupac Amaru His 
Capture and Execution War of Independence Character of the Peru 
vian Indians Music Dress Superstitions Longevity Diminished 
Population of Peru Languages spoken by the Aboriginal Inhabitants 
Specimen of Quichua Poetry The Yaravies The Quipu Water Con 
duits Ancient Buildings Fortresses Idols Domestic Utensils An 
cient Peruvian Graves Mode of Eurying the Dead Mummies. 

A GLANCE at the history of Peru serves to show that prior to the 
Spanish conquest the Indians were the subjects of a dynasty, to 
which they rendered willing obedience. We find, indeed, an 
uninterrupted series of revolutions and wars, arising out of the 
continued extension of the empire, to which nations differing one 
from another in language, religion, and manners, were gradually 
annexed. For some time after their subjugation these nations 
struggled to recover their independence, but the wise and mild 
government of the Incas gradually restored peace, and esta 
blished unity. In course of time, the magnitude of the empire 
led to its downfall. Huayna Inca-Capac divided his dominions 
between his two sons. To the elder, Huascar, he gave the 
southern portion of the empire, and to the younger, Atahuallpa, 
he gave the northern division. Between the two brothers there 
arose disputes, which led to a sanguinary war ; and in that fatal 
interval, Pizarro, with his invading forces, landed in Peru. 
With a degree of speed, which internal union among the people 
would have rendered impossible, the Spaniards made themselves 
masters of the country, massacred alike sovereigns and subjects, 
destroyed the sanctuaries, and established a new religion and 
new laws. The barbarous cruelties by which that religion and 
those laws were upheld are too well known to require repetition 
here. Of the many oppressive measures to which the Spaniards 


enforced submission from the conquered people, I will briefly 
notice two : the Repartimiento and the Mita. The Repartimi- 
ento was the distribution, among the natives, of articles of Euro 
pean production. These distributions were under the superin 
tendence of the provincial authorities, the corregidores, and the 
sub-delegados. The law was doubtless intended, in its origin, 
for the advantage and convenience of the native Indians, by sup 
plying them with necessaries at a reasonable price. But, subse 
quently, the Repartimiento became a source of oppression and 
fraud, in the hands of the provincial authorities. All the corre- 
gidores and sub-delegados became traders. They purchase 
consignments of manufactured goods from Europe, at a cheap 
rate, and sold them to the Indians at exorbitant prices. To add 
to the grievance, the articles thus forced upon the natives were, 
in many instances, not necessaries, but objects of luxury utterly 
useless to them. Even more oppressive and cruel than the Re 
partimiento, was the Mita, which consisted of the forced labor of 
the Indians in the mines and plantations. Every Spaniard who 
wished to work a mine, obtained from the corregidor a certain 
number of Indians, to each of whom he gave daily four reals as 
wages, with the agreement of paying to the government a yearly 
tax of eight dollars. The condition of the Indians who were dis 
tributed to the plantation owners was even worse than that of the 
mine laborers ; they received only two reals per day, and were 
required to work in the fields from three in the morning until 
after sunset. The Indians employed in this compulsory labor, 
whether in the mines or the plantations, were called Mitas. 
But there was another sort of forced labor, for which no wages 
were paid. It was indeed less toilsome than working in the 
mines and plantations, yet the Indians employed in it were fre 
quently subject to much ill-treatment. I allude to domestic ser 
vice in the houses of the corregidores, sub-delegados, and priests. 
The Indians thus employed were called Pongos, and they were 
required to continue in their places for the space of a year, after 
which they were discharged. A corregidor frequently had half 
a dozen of these pongos, whom he provided with miserable food 
and wretched clothing.* 

* Even to this day the custom of forced domestic service is kept up 





In the mines and plantations countless numbers of Indians were 
annually swept away by the excessive labor consequent on the 
mita. Some writers estimate at nine millions the number of 
Indians sacrificed in the mines in the course of three centuries. 
This estimate is certainly too high ; but three millions more may 
be added for the number of victims of the mita in the plantations. 

That the government in Spain should have tolerated this barba 
rous system, so obviously calculated to bring ruin on the nation, 
may naturally be matter of surprise. But a glance at the In- 
ian laws (Leyes de IndiasJ suffices to show the distinction be- 

een the intentions of the Spanish government and the corrupt 
egislation of the country. The laws are, with some few excep 
tions, conceived in a mild spirit, and show that their framers had 
in view the well-being of the colonies. The execution of these 
laws was consigned to the superintendence of what was termed 
the Indian council (Consejo de Indicts). This council consisted 
of a certain number of men who resided in Spain, and who 
either were only in part acquainted with the real state of things 
in South America, or were bribed by Indian gold to wink at the 
abuses committed there. From this council were chosen the 
viceroys and high authorities of the colonies, who, whilst in the 
exercise of their official functions, amassed enormous wealth by 
unjust exactions from the Indians. One of the latest viceroys 
of Peru was a man who arrived in Lima in a state of utter po 
verty, and who, in the short space of three years, amassed the 
immense sum of five millions of dollars. 

Could it be matter of surprise if at length the Indians rose 
against their oppressors, and made an effort to shake off the heavy 
yoke of their tyrants ? For two hundred years they had borne 
it silently, without a single attempt to emancipate themselves. 
Juar. Santos Atahuallpa was the first who stirred up revolt against 
the Spaniards. The insurrection which he had headed, though 
deemed too insignificant to fix the attention of the short-sighted 
government of Lima, nevertheless, convinced the Indians that 

in some parts of the Sierra, where the priest is allowed the services of 
a female cook, who is called a Mita, and a man servant, for whom the 
name of Pongo is reserved. These servants are kept for the space of * 


they were strong enough to make a stand against their oppressors. 
Several partial risings in Southern Peru were speedily put down ; 
a leader was wanted to organize the disconnected plans and 
movements of the insurgents. This want was at length supplied 
in the person of the ill-fated Tupac Amaru, cacique of Tunga- 
suca, a descendant of the last Inca. 

The event which caused Tupac Amaru to attempt a movement 
against the Spaniards occurred in 1780. In that year, the cor- 
regidor of Tinta, Don Antonio Ariaga, made repartimientos to 
the amount of 340,000 dollars, and with the most cruel rigo 
enforced payment of the useless articles distributed. The 
cique of Tungasuca assembled the irritated Indians, who seized 
the corregidor and hanged him. This was the signal for a gene 
ral rising in all the neighboring districts. The forces of Tupac 
Amaru augmented daily. He was invested with the title of Inca, 
and treated with the honors due to sovereignty. For several 
months an active war was maintained in the Puna, where several 
towns and villages were taken by the insurgents. Tupac Amaru 
had made himself master of the village of Chucuito, and was pre 
paring to advance upon Cuzco, when, about the end of April, 
1781, he, and all his family, were made prisoners by the Spa 
niards. He was tried and condemned to death, together with his 
wife, two sons, his brother-in-law, and several other individuals 
of note among the Indians. 

But the execution of Tupac Amaru, which was marked by 
circumstances of monstrous barbarity, far from stemming the 
tide of revolution, served only to stimulate the vengeance of the 
insurgents. They once more mustered their warlike bands, 
under the command of Casimiro Tupac Amaru, the brother of 
the late cacique, his son Andres, and an intrepid Indian chief, 
named Nicacatari. The latter, assisted by Andres, burned seve 
ral villages of Upper Peru, and murdered all the whites. They 
next advanced upon the strongly fortified town of Sorrata, whither 
the Spaniards of the surrounding districts had fled for protection. 
The town was taken by the insurgents, and the inhabitants, 
22,000 in number, inhumanly put to death, with the exception 
of eighty-seven priests and monks. The Indians then advanced 
westwards, defeating several Spanish corps, and spreading terror 




and dismay through the country. But, that which neither the 
arms nor the executions of the Spaniards could accomplish, was 
effected by their gold. A treacherous Indian, bribed by the pro 
mise of a large reward, conducted a division of Spanish soldiers 
to the spot where the chiefs were accustomed to meet, unattended 
by any guard, to hold their council. They were surprised, cap 
tured, and condemned to death. Once more deprived of leaders, 
the Indians disbanded and withdrew, some to their homes, and 
others into the forests. Numberless victims paid the debt of re 
tribution to the Spanish government, which now adopted every 
measure that could tend to annihilate the nationality of the native 
Indians. Their dances, their music, their dress all that could 
revive the remembrance of their progenitors, was condemned to 
rigorous prohibition ; they were even forbidden the use of their 
mother tongue, the Quichua language. The only beneficial 
result of these wars, in which upwards of a hundred thousand 
lives were sacrificed, was the abolition of the Repartimientos, 
which had been the cause of the insurrections. 

Peace was now, at least to appearance, restored ; and if, occa 
sionally, symptoms of disturbance arose, they were immediately 
repressed. This state of things continued until the Creoles them 
selves gave the signal of revolt, and the War of Independence 
broke out in all the Spanish colonies of South America. In this 
enterprise the Indians readily took part. But it is a great mis 
take to suppose that the Indian natives made common cause with 
the Creoles against the Spaniards for the purpose of bringing 
about the present form of government. They wished to emanci 
pate themselves in order to establish their own dynasty and a 
government modelled after that of their forefathers. They 
wanted not a republic, but a monarchy, and a sovereign chosen 
from the sacred race of the Incas. Having no clear comprehen 
sion of the real object of the War of Independence, the Indians, 
when they saw whites fighting against whites, directed their 
hostility against all Pucacuncas (pale faces) without distinction, 
killing loyalists or patriots, just as they happened to fall in their 
way. This hatred was so bitterly manifested, that in some pro 
vinces all the whites and mestizos were obliged to fly, even 
though they were the most decided enemies of the Spanish loyal- 


ists. In Jauja the Indians vowed not to leave even a white dog 
or a white fowl alive, and they even scraped the whitewash from 
the walls of the houses. 

The provisional government ordered levies of troops to be made 
in the provinces which had fallen into the hands of the patriots ; 
and then, for the first time, Indians were enrolled in the arrny as 
regular troops. But it was only in a very few districts that they 
voluntarily took part in the conflict for independence : they per. 
formed the forced service of conscripts, and whenever an oppor 
tunity enabled them to retire from it, they did so. The Spanish 
dominion being overthrown, the war terminated, and a republican 
constitution was established. The Indians then clearly perceived 
that they had been made the tools of the leaders of the revolution. 
Upon the whole, their condition was but little improved ; for if 
they were relieved from some oppressive laws, other hardships 
weighed heavily on them, and they found that they still were 
slaves in the land of their fathers. The Creoles, like the 
Spaniards, will draw the string of despotism till it snaps. Then 
will. arise another Indian insurrection like that headed by Tupac 
Amaru, but with a more successful result. After a fearful 
struggle, they may reconquer their fatherland, and re-establish 
their ancient constitution ; and can it be matter of surprise if they 
wreak cruel vengeance on the enemies of their race ? 

Since the War of Independence, the Indians have made im 
mense progress. During the civil war, which was kept u}. 
uninterruptedly for the space of twenty years, they were taught 
military manoeuvres and the use of fire-arms. After every lost 
battle the retreating Indians carried with them in their flight their 
muskets, which they still keep carefully concealed. They are 
also acquainted with the manufacture of gunpowder, of which in 
all their festivals they use great quantities for squibs and rockets. 
The materials for the preparation of gunpowder are found in 
abundance in the valleys of the Sierra. 

In the year 1841, when I was passing through a miserable 
village on the confines of one of the Montanas of Central Peru, I 
took up my abode for some days in the hut of an Indian, and 
whilst there I accidentally saw eighteen muskets which were 
deposited in a place of concealment. I, quite unsuspectingly, 


inquired of the Indian, why he thought it requisite to keep so 
many weapons of defence ? He replied, with a sinister frown, 
that the time would come when he should find them useful. I 
could easily perceive that my accidental discovery was by no 
means agreeable to him ; and from the very marked change 
which I observed in his manner. I deemed it prudent to withdraw 
from the village and its vicinity. Whilst my horse was being 
saddled, I noticed my host and some of his confidential friends 
engaged in very earnest conversation, and I could easily perceive 
that I was the subject of it. On my departure the Indian asked 
me, with apparent friendliness of manner, which way I was going ? 
When I was beyond the sphere of his observation, I deemed it 
prudent to proceed quite in an opposite direction from the route 
which I told him I intended to take. 

The character of the Peruvian Indian is essentially gloomy. 
It was not always so, if we may give credit to the animated pic 
tures drawn by early travellers in Peru ; but three hundred years 
of oppression and suffering have impressed their melancholy stamp 
on the feelings and manners of the people. This gloominess is 
strikingly manifested in their songs, their dances, their dress, and 
their whole domestic economy. The favorite musical instru 
ments of the Indians are those called the Pututo and the Jaina, 
The former is a large conch, on which they perform mournfu? 
music, as the accompaniment of their funeral dances. In earl} 
times this conch was employed in the solemnities of royal inter- 
ments; now its use is exclusively reserved for the anniversaries 
held in commemoration of certain events connected with the fallen 
Inca dynasty. The Jaina appears to be of more modern origin ; 
it is a rude kind of clarionet, made from a reed. Its tone is 
indescribably melancholy, and it produces an extraordinary 
impression on the natives. If a group of Indians are rioting and 
drinking, or engaged in furious conflict with each other, and the 
sound of the Jaina is suddenly heard, the tumult ceases, as if by 
a stroke of magic. A dead stillness prevails, and all listen 
devoutly to the magic tones of the simple reed ; tones which fre 
quently draw tears from the eyes of the apathetic Indian. 

Their garments are all of dark and sombre hues. Dark blue 
is a favorite color, and appears to be generally adopted for mourn 


ing ; for whenever the Indians follow a corpse to the grave, they 
always wear dark blue ponchos. The dress of the men usually 
consists of short trowsers, of coarse brown cloth, fastened round 
the waist by a girdle, and a woollen or cotton shirt. They seldom 
wear a jacket, the ponchos of Alpaca wool being always the outer 
garment. On their feet they wear sandals of untanncd leather, 
which merely cover the toes, and are fastened round the ancle. 

The dress of the women consists of a loose under garment, with 
out sleeves, and made of coarse blue woollen cloth. It is con 
fined round the waist by a broad girdle, called the huccau. Over 
the arms are drawn black sleeves, reaching from the wrist to 
about the middle of the upper arm. A sort of robe or tunic, 
called the anacu, descends from the shoulders to the knees. It is 
fastened, not in front, but on one side. This garment is made of 
a thin sort of woollen stuff. It is always black, being worn in 
token of mourning for the Incas. On the occasion of certain 
festivals, the Indian women wear a particolored dress, called a 
faldilUn. This garment frequently exhibits the most glaring 
contrasts of color, one half being bright red, and the other yellow, 
in addition to which it is sometimes adorned with flowers of 
brilliant hues, and tasteless, gold embroidery. A mantilla, 
consisting of a narrow piece of woollen cloth, passed over the 
shoulders, and fastened under the chin, either with a long silver 
pin, or a cactus-thorn, completes the costume. In this mantilla, 
or in a poncho, mothers are accustomed to wrap their infants, and 
fastening them to their backs, they carry them about in this man 
ner for a whole day, whilst engaged in their work. 

In their domestic relations, the Indians are unsocial and gloomy. 
Husband, wife, and children live together with but little appear 
ance of affection. The children seem to approach their parents 
timidly, and whole days sometimes elapse without the interchange 
of a word of kindness between them. When the Indian is not 
engaged in out-door work, he sits gloomily in his hut, chewing 
coca, and brooding silently over his own thoughts. To his 
friend he is more communicative than to his wife. With the 
former, he will often discourse, apparently on some secret topic, 
for the space of half a night ; nevertheless, he cannot be accused 
of treating his wife with any degree of cruelty, or of regarding 


her merely in the light of his slave, as is customary among 
uncivilized races of people. 

Besides the official authorities, to which the Government exact? 
obedience, the Peruvian Indian acknowledges other authorities, 
whose functions and power are similar to those wnich existed 
under the Inca dynasty. In like manner, though they have 
embraced the Christian faith, yet they obstinately adhere to 
certain religious ceremonies, which have been transmitted >j 
them by their idolatrous progenitors. Thus their religion is a 
singular combination of Christian principles and heathenish forms. 
Hitherto the most patient and intelligent of their religious in 
structors have failed to outroot this attachment to old forms. The 
Christian religion has been spread among the Indians by force ; 
and for centuries past, they have regarded the priests only in the 
light of tyrants, who make religion a cloak for the most scandalous 
pecuniary extortions, and whose conduct is in direct opposition to 
the doctrines they profess. If they render to them unconditional 
obedience, accompanied by a sort of timid reverence, it is to be 
attributed less to the operation of the Christian principle, than to 
a lingering attachment to the theocratic government of the Incas, 
which has impressed the Peruvians with a sacred awe of religion. 

The superstition with which the Indians are so deeply imbued 
is adverse to the inculcation of pure religious faith ; it is the more 
difficult to be eradicated, inasmuch as it has its origin in early 
tradition, and has in later times been singularly blended with the 
Catholic form of worship. Of this superstition I may here adduce 
some examples. As soon as a dying person draws his last breath, 
the relatives, or persons in attendance, put coca leaves into the 
mouth of the corpse, and light a wax candle. They then collect 
together the household goods and clothes of the deceased and 
wash them in the nearest river. They put on the dead clothes, 
which are made after the pattern of a monk s habit, and they 
hang round the neck of the corpse a little bag, containing seeds 
of coca, maize, barley, quinua, &c., for his plantations in the 
next world. In the evening ashes are strewed on the floor 
of the room, and the door is securely fastened. Next morning 
the ashes are carefully examined to ascertain whether they show 
any impression of footsteps ; and imagination readily traces 


marks, which are alleged to have been produced by the feet of 
birds, dogs, cats, oxen, or llamas. The destiny of the dead per 
son is construed by the foot-marks which are supposed to be 
discernible. The worst marks are those of hens claws, which 
are believed to denote that the soul of the deceased is doomed to 
irrevocable perdition. The marks of the hoofs of llamas are 
considered favorable, and are believed to indicate that the soul, 
after a short purgatory, will be transferred to the joys of para 
dise. The funeral is conducted according to Christian forms, 
and under the superintendence of a priest. But as soon as the 
priest takes his departure food is put into the grave along with 
the dead body, which is interred without a coffin. I have some 
times seen one of the nearest relatives leap into the grave and 
strike the body with his foot, but the meaning of this strange 
proceeding I never could clearly understand. Some curious 
ceremonies are observed on All Souls Day. In every house in 
which a member of the family has died in the course of the year, 
a table is laid out with brandy, coca, tobacco, together with some 
of the favorite dishes of the deceased person, and the chamber 
is kept closed the whole day. The family firmly believe that the 
spirit of their departed relative on that day revisits his earthly 
abode, and partakes of the repast that is spread out on the table. 
A widow usually wears mourning for the space of twelve months. 
In some provinces, on the anniversary of her husband s death, 
the widow puts on a bridal dress, and over it her ordinary gar 
ments. All her relatives visit her in her dwelling, where, to the 
accompaniment of doleful music, she takes the lead in a funeral 
dance. As the hour approaches at which the husband died in 
the previous year, the dancing and the music become more and 
more mournful ; but whenever the hour is past one of the female 
friends approaches the widow and removes her black mantilla. 
The other females then strip off the rest of her mourning gar 
ments, and adorn her head with flowers. At length she appears 
in a complete bridal dress. The musicians strike up a lively 
strain, to which the whole party dance, and the evening is passed 
in drinking and merry-making. 

Among the Peruvian Indians there are marked varieties of 
form and complexion. These differences are most distinctly 


observable between the inhabitants of the coast and those of the 
mountain and forest regions. In general, the Peruvian Indian is 
of middle height, rather slender, and not very robust. The 
coast Indians are more plump than the inhabitants of other dis 
tricts, because they lead a less laborious life, and are less ex- 
posed to privations. It is scarcely possible to trace any particular 
national physiognomy among the Indians. In each province a 
distinct character is observable in the features of the inhabitants. 
The varieties of feature are less distinctly marked than the dif 
ferences of complexion. The peculiar tints of the skin are 
decidedly defined, and indicate respectively the inhabitants of the 
three principal regions. The colder the climate, the fairer is the 
skin. For example, the color of the Puna Indian is a dark red- 
brown ; that of the native of the Sierra is considerably lighter ; 
it is a rusty red, but still darker than that of the coast Indians ; 
and the natives of the forests are yellow, nearly approaching 
to maize color. These differences are singularly striking, when 
one has an opportunity of seeing the inhabitants of the different 
regions in juxtaposition. It is curious that the Cholos of the 
Puna, when they settle in the forests, become only a very little 
clearer ; arid that, on the other hand, the yellow Indians of the 
Montafui, after being several years in the Puna, still retain theii 
characteristic tint. The women are, on the whole, extremely 
ugly, with round, inexpressive faces. Their hands and feet are 
very small. 

The Indians are, on the average, remarkable for longevity, 
though they frequently shorten their lives by the intemperate 
use of strong drinks. Instances are not rare of Indians living 
to be 120 or 130 years of age, and retaining full possession of their 
bodily and mental powers. Stevenson mentions that on examin 
ing the church registers of Barranca, he found that within an 
interval of seven years, eleven Indians had been interred, whose 
united ages amounted to 1207, being an average of 109 years 
to each. In the year 1839 there was living in the valley of 
Jauja an Indian who, according to the baptismal register shown 
to me by the priest, was born in the year 1697. He himself 
declared that he had not for the space of ninety years tasted a 
drop of water, having drunk nothing but chicha. Since he was 


eleven years of age, he alleged that he had masticated coca, at 
least three times every day, and that he had eaten animal food 
only on Sundays ; on all the other days of the week he had lived 
on maize, quinua, and barley. The Indians retain their teeth 
and hair in extreme old age ; and it is remarkable that their hair 
never becomes white, and very seldom even grey. Those indi 
viduals whose advanced ages have been mentioned above, had 
all fine black hair. 

Since the Spanish conquest, the population of Peru has dimi 
nished in an almost incredible degree. When we read the 
accounts given by the old historiographers of the vast armies 
which the Incas had at their command ; when we behold the 
ruins of the gigantic buildings, and of the numerous towns and 
villages scattered over Peru, it is difficult to conceive how the 
land could have been so depopulated in the lapse of three centu 
ries. At the time of the conquest it was easy, in a short space 
of time, to raise an army of 300,000 men, and, moreover, to 
form an important reserved force ; whilst now, the Government, 
even with the utmost efforts, can scarcely assemble 10,000 or 
12,000 men. According to the census drawn up in 1836, Peru 
did not contain more than 1,400,000 men, being not quite so 
many as were contained at an earlier period in the department 
of Cuzco alone. Unfortunately there is no possibility of obtain 
ing anything approaching to accurate estimates of the population 
of early periods ; and even if such documents existed, it would 
be difficult to deduce from them a comparison between Peru as 
it now is, and Peru at the period when Bolivia, a part of Buenos 
Ayres, and Columbia, belonged to the mighty empire. I will 
here quote only one example of the immense diminution of the 
population. Father Melendez mentions that shortly after the 
conquest, the parish of Ancallama, in the province of Chancay, 
contained 30,000 Indians fit for service (that is to say, between 
the ages of eighteen and fifty) ; now, the same parish contains 
at most 140 individuals, of whom one-third are Mestizos. The 
whole coast of Peru, now almost totally depopulated, was once 
so thickly inhabited, that to subdue King Chimu, in North Peru 
alone, an army of 80,000 men was requisite. The causes of 
the diminished Indian population of Peru have been so frequently 


and fully detailed by previous writers, that I need not here do more 
than briefly advert to them. They are found in the extensive and 
reckless massacres committed by the Spaniards during the 
struggle of the conquest; in the suicides and voluntary deaths 
resorted to by the natives to escape from the power of their op 
pressors ; in the mita, the small-pox, the scarlet fever, and the 
introduction of brandy. The mita alone, especially the labor in 
the mines, has swept away four times as many Indians as all 
the other causes combined. Since the abolition of the mita, the 
Indian population has been on the increase, though there has not 
yet been time for any marked result to become manifest ; the 
more especially, considering the numbers of lives sacrificed during 
the frequent civil wars. Nevertheless, it is easy to foresee that 
a decided augmentation of the Indian inhabitants of the western 
parts of South America will, ere long, be apparent. 

Among the aboriginal inhabitants of Peru a variety of lan 
guages are in use. In the southern parts of the country, par- 
ticularly about Cuzco,the Quichua is spoken. It was the dialect 
of the court, and that which was most generally diffused, and 
the Spaniards therefore called it la lengua general. In the high 
lands of Central Peru, the Chinchaysuyo language prevailed. 
The Indians of the coast, who belonged to the race of the Chun- 
chos, spoke the Yunga. The Kauqui was the language of that 
part of Central Peru which corresponds with the present province 
of Yauyos. The inhabitants of the north-eastern parts of Peru, 
as far as the Huallaga, spoke the Lama language,* and the na 
tives of the highland regions of Quito spoke the Quitena.^ These 
different languages, which, with the exception of the Lama, pro 
ceed all from one source, differ so considerably, that the in 
habitants of the several districts were reciprocally incapable of 

* Adelung, in his " Review of all Languages," considers the Calchaqui 
(still spoken in Tucuman) to be a dialect of the Quichua. It is, however, 
a dialect of the Aymara. Adelung makes another mistake when he ob 
serves, that the Lama language is spoken in the neighborhood of Truxillo. 

t Of the Quichua, Quitena, and Lama languages several grammars and 
dictionaries exist. Of the Kauqui only single words have been preserved. 
There is a very imperfect dictionary of the Chinchaysuyo by Figueredo. 
Of the Yunga there is a grammar with a Confesionario and Prayers by 
Fernando de Carrera a very scarce work. 


understanding each other, and the Incas found it necessary to 
introduce the Quichua among all the nations they subdued. The 
other dialects were thereby much corrupted, and at the time of 
the Spanish invasion, they were seldom correctly spoken. This 
corruption was naturally increased more and more after the 
arrival of the Spaniards, by the introduction of a new language. 
Only for a few of the new articles brought by the Spaniards to 
Peru did the Indians form new names, taking the roots of the 
words from their own language : for most things they adopted 
the Spanish names. By this means, but still more by the future 
intercourse of the people with the invaders, the purity of the 
natural language rapidly disappeared in proportion to the influ 
ence which the Spaniards obtained by their increase in numbers 
and moral superiority. At present the Quichua is a compound 
of all the dialects and the Spanish ; it is spoken in the greatest 
purity in the southern provinces, though even there it is much 
intermixed with Aymara words. In Central Peru the Chinchay- 
suyo prevails, and on the coast the Spanish and the Yunga. 
The present Indians and people of mixed blood, who of necessity 
must speak the ever-changing Quichua, and also the Spanish, 
speak both in so corrupt a manner, that it is frequently almost 
impossible to understand them. 

The family of the Incas had a secret language of their own, 
which was not learned by subjects. This language is now almost 
totally lost, not more than two dozen words of it being preserved. 
In early times, the Quichua language was much cultivated. It 
was used officially in public speaking, and professors were sent 
by the Inca family into the provinces to teach it correctly. For 
poetry, the Quichua language was not very well adapted, owing 
to the difficult conjugation of the verbs, and the awkward blend- 
ing of pronouns with substantives. Nevertheless, the poetic art 
was zealously cultivated under the Incas. They paid certain 
poets (called the Haravicus), for writing festival dramas in verse, 
and also for composing love-songs and heroic poems. Few of 
these heroic poems have been preserved, a circumstance the more 
to be regretted, as many of them would doubtless have been import 
ant historical documents; but for that very reason, the Spaniards 
spared no pains to obliterate every trace of them. Some of the 


love-songs have, however, been preserved. In Quichua poetry, 
the lines are shoit, and seldom thoroughly rhythmical. Rhymes 
were only exceptional, and v "*r sought for. The poetry 

was, therefore, merely a so? " < yc .. 

A specimen of one of t). We-songs is 

given by Garcilaso de la Vegu, and 

Poems." It is copied from papers left u^ 
Valera ; and some lines of it are here subjoined, 
is an old Peruvian tradition : A maiden of royal blood (n.. 
is appointed by the Creator of the world (Pacchacamac) in 
heaven, to pour water and snow on the earth out of a pitcher ; 
her brother breaks the pitcher, whereupon thunder and lightning 

Cumac nusta Beautiful Princess, 

Turallayquim Thy Pitcher 

Puynuyquita Thy brother hath broken 

Paquicayan Here in Pieces ; 

Hina mantara For that blow 

Cunununun It thunders ; and lightning 

Yllapantac Flashes all around. 

There were, however, instances of versification which may pro 
perly be called poetry. Of this the Yaravies, or elegies, afford some 
fair examples. These poems have for their subjects unfortunate 
love, or sorrow for the dead. They were recited or sung by one 
or more voices, with an accompaniment of melancholy music, 
and made a great impression on the hearers. A foreigner, who 
for the first time hears one of these Yaravies sung, even though 
he may not understand the Quichua words, is nevertheless deep 
ly moved by the melody. The strain is sad and sweet. No 
other music is at once so dismal and so tender. What the donina 
is as an instrument, the yaravie is in singing ; both convey the 
expression of a deeply troubled heart. The yaravie has been 
imitated by the Spaniards in their own language, and some of the 
imitations are very beautiful ; but they have not been able to 
reach the deep melancholy of the Quichua elegy. The modern 
poetry of the Indians is inferior to the old ; the words are a mix 
ture of Quichua and Spanish, and are scarcely intelligible. The 


Spanish words have often Quich" : :minations affixed to them ; 
on the other hand, some* trie Q liehua words are inflected 
after the Spani^ making . .together a barbarous com 


uerit Penmans ! -.*u no manuscript characters for single 
Lut they lud a method by which they composed words 
.aied ideas. This method consisted in the dexterous 
Dining of knots on strings, so as to render them auxiliaries to 
the memory. The instrument consisting of these strings and 
knots was called the QUIPU. It was composed of one thick head 
or top string, to which, at certain distances, thinner ones were 
fastened. The top string was much thicker than these pendent 
strings, and consisted of two doubly twisted threads, over which 
two single threads were wound. The branches, if I may apply 
the term to these pendent strings, were fastened to the top ones 
by a simple loop ; the knots were made in the pendent strings. 
and were either single or manifold. The lengths of the strings 
used in making the quipu were various. The transverse or top 
string often measures several yards, and sometimes only a foot 
long ; the branches are seldom more than two feet long, and in 
general they are much shorter. 

The strings were often of different colors ; each having its own 
particular signification. The color for soldiers was red ; for gold, 
yellow ; for silver, white ; for corn, green, &c. This writing 
by knots was especially employed for numerical and statistical 
tables ; each single knot representing ten ; each double knot 
stood for one hundred j each triple knot for one thousand, &c. ; 
two single knots standing together made twenty ; and two double 
knots, two hundred. 

This method of calculation is still practised by the shepherds 
of the Puna. They explained it to me, and I could, with very 
little trouble, construe their quipus. On the first branch or string 
they usually placed the numbers of the bulls ; on the second, 
that of the cows ; the latter being classed into those which were 
milked, and those which were not milked ; on the next string 
were numbered the calves, according to their ages and sizes. 
Then came the sheep, in several subdivisions. Next followed 
the number of foxes killed, the quantity of salt consumed, and, 


finally, the cattle that had been slaughtered. Other quipus 
showed the produce of the herds in milk, cheese, wool, &c. Each 
list was distinguished by a particular color, or by some peculiarity 
in the twisting of the string. 

In this manner the ancient Peruvians kept the accounts of 
their army. On one string were numbered the soldiers armed 
with slings ; on another, the spearmen ; on a third, those who 
carried clubs, &c. In the same manner the military reports 
were prepared. In every town some expert men were appointed 
to tie the knots of the quipu, and to explain them. These men 
were called quipucamayocuna (literally, officers of the knots). 
Imperfect as was this method, yet in the flourishing period of the 
Inca government the appointed officers had acquired great dex 
terity in unriddling the meaning of the knots. It, however, 
seldom happened that they had to read a quipu without some 
verbal commentary. Something was always required to be 
added if the quipu came from a distant province, to explain 
whether it related to the numbering of the population, to tributes, 
or to war, &c. Through long-continued practice, the officers 
who had charge of the quipus became so perfect in their duties, 
that they could with facility communicate the laws and ordi 
nances, and all the most important events of the kingdom, by 
their knots. 

All attempts made in modern times to decipher Peruvian 
quipus have been unsatisfactory in their results. The principal 
obstacle to deciphering those found in graves, consists in the want 
of the oral communication requisite for pointing out the subjects 
to which they refer. Such communication was necessary, even 
in former times, to the most learned quipucamayocuna. Most of 
the quipus here alluded to seem to be accounts of the population 
of particular towns or provinces, tax-lists, and information relat 
ing to the property of the deceased. Some Indians in the 
southern provinces of Peru are understood to possess a perfect 
knowledge of some of the ancient quipus, from information 
transmitted to them from their ancestors. But they keep that 
knowledge profoundly secret, particularly from the whites. The 
ancient Peruvians also used a certain kind of hieroglyphics, 
which they engraved in stone, and preserved in their temples. 


Notices of these hieroglyphics are given by some of the early 
writers. There appears to be a great similarity between these 
Peruvian hieroglyphics and those found in Mexico and Brazil. 

I have already mentioned one of the largest and most wonder 
ful works of Peruvian antiquity, namely, the great military road 
which passes through the whole empire leading from Cuzco to 
Quitu, and which has many highly important lateral branches. 
The magnificent water-conduits, by which barren sand wastes 
and sterile hills were converted into fruitful plantations, are 
monuments of equivalent greatness. Traces of these water- 
conduits are to be seen throughout the whole of Peru, and even 
where the canals themselves no longer exist, the divisional 
boundaries of the fields they watered are still discernible. In 
many districts where the valleys of the Sierra run into the Puna 
(I allude here only to the declivities above Tarmatambo, on 
the road towards Jauja) there may be seen many square 
fields of uniform size, each of which is surrounded by a low 
stone wall ; these fields are at present overgrown with Puna 
grass, and are not fit for cultivation. They are what were called 
Tapu lands, which were distributed to every subject of the Inca 
empire, so that each family enjoyed the produce arising from the 
cultivation of a certain portion of ground. These Tapu lands 
were watered by skilfully constructed aqueducts, whereby they 
were rendered suitable for agriculture. The Spaniards having 
destroyed the conduits, the reservoirs dried up, and the soil 
became barren. Many of these conduits were subterraneous, 
and it is now no longer possible to find them ; in some parts they 
were constructed with pipes of gold, which the Spaniards eagerly 
seized as valuable booty. 

There still exist vast remains of well-constructed colossal 
buildings, as palaces, fortresses, and temples. The walls of 
these edifices were built of square stones, so finely cut, and 
joined so closely together, that between any two there is not 
space sufficient to insert the edge of the thinnest paper. In the 
royal palace of Cuzco, and in the Temple of the Sun, a fusion 
of gold or silver was used for cement between the stones. This 
was, however, only employed as a luxury ; for in other greai 
edifices, for example, in the baths of Huamalies in the province 


of Jauja, stones are kept together by their own weight and the 
precision of the workmanship. These stones are of very con 
siderable magnitude ; some being from twelve to sixteen feet 
long, from eight to ten feet high, and equally broad. They are 
not all square ; some are polygonal, and some spherical, but they 
were all joined one to another with the same exactness : of this 
a remarkable example is presented in the highly interesting 
ruins of the palace of Limatambo. A question which naturally 
suggests itself is, how did the ancient Peruvians, without iron 
tools, hew these vast stones, and afterwards work the different frag 
ments so skilfully ? The first point is to me quite inexplicable ; 
the second may possibly be accounted for by friction ; the softest 
of two stones which was to be brought into a particular shape 
being rubbed by a harder, and afterwards polished by pyritous 
plants. The removal of the block from the quarry where it was 
excavated to the place of its destination, and the raising of frag 
ments of stone to considerable heights, could only have been 
effected by the co-operation of thousands of men, for no kind of 
elevating machinery or lever was then known. 

The fortresses give a high idea of the progress made by the 
ancient Peruvians in architectural art. These structures were 
surrounded by ramparts and trenches. The larger ones were 
protected by the solidity of the walls, and the smaller ones by 
difficulty of access. The approaches to them were chiefly sub 
terraneous ; and thereby, they were enabled to maintain secret 
communication with the palaces and temples in their neighbor 
hood. The subterraneous communications were carefully con 
structed ; they were of the height of a man, and in general from 
three to four feet broad. In some parts they contract suddenly 
in width, and the walls on each side are built with sharp pointed 
stones, so that there is no getting between them, except by a 
lateral movement. In other parts they occasionally become so 
low, that it is impossible to advance, except by creeping on all 
fours. Every circumstance had been made a subject of strict 
calculation ; it had been well considered how treasures might be 
removed from the palaces and temples to the fortresses, and 
placed securely beyond the reach of an enemy, for in the rear of 
every narrow pass there were ample spaces for soldiers, who 


might dispute the advance of a whole army. Besides the 
remains of the fortress of Cuzco, which are gradually disappear 
ing every year, the most important are those of Calcahilares and 
Huillcahuaman. Less interesting, though still very curious, 
are the ruins of Chimu-canchu in Manische, near Truxillo, 
which are not of stone but of brick. The architecture of the 
small fortress of Huichay, two leagues from Tarma, which 
defended the entrance to that valley, is very remarkable. The 
front is built of small but firmly united stones, and covers a 
large cavity, in which there are numerous divisions, intended 
for the preservation of warlike stores, and for quartering soldiers. 
On the steep declivity of the hill there had been a deep trench, 
between which there was a wall fourteen feet higher, flanked by 
three bastions. Around this fortress nitre is found in great 
abundance. It is now collected by the Huancas (the inhabitants 
of the valley of Jauja), for making gunpowder. The diggings 
for nitre have almost obliterated the entrance to the cavity, and 
the fortress is already so much injured that possibly in another 
century scarcely a trace of the edifice will remain. Notwith 
standing a search of several days, I did not succeed in discover 
ing the mouth of the cavity, though an old Indian, who, years 
ago, had often visited it, pointed out to me what he supposed to 
be its precise situation. The walls of perpendicular rock in the 
neighborhood of Huichay are often 60 to 80 feet high, and the 
clefts or fissures in them are filled up with small stories. It 
would be incomprehensible how the Indians ascended to perform 
this labor, were it not perceived that they have hollowed passages 
in the mountain. It would appear they must have had dwell- 
ings, or stores for provisions, on the higher part of the hill, for 
small windows are often perceptible in walls of masonry. 

The old Indian villages of the Sierra are for the most part 
situated on heights, or sharp ridges, which are now completely 
barren, as they no longer receive the artificial watering with 
which they were formerly supplied. All lie open to the east, so 
that the inhabitants could behold their Deity the moment he ap 
peared on the horizon. All large towns had a square in their 
centre, where the religious dances were performed. From the 
square a certain number of regular roads or streets always rau 


in the direction of the four quarters of the firmament. There 
are great varieties in the construction of the houses. Small 
insignificant huts often stand close to a palace having twenty or 
twenty-five windows in one front. Private dwellings in the 
mountainous parts are built of unhewn stone, cemented with a 
very strong calcareous mortar. On the coast the walls are of 
brick. In the departments of Junin and Ayacucho, I met with 
the ruins of great villages, consisting of dwellings of a peculiar 
construction, in the form of a tower. Each house is quadrangu 
lar, with a diameter of about six feet, and seventeen or eighteen 
feet high. The walls are from one to one and a half feet thick. 
The doors, which open to the east or south, are only a foot and a 
half high, and two feet wide. After creeping in (which is a work 
of some difficulty) the explorer finds himself in an apartment 
about five and a half feet in height, and of equal breadth, with 
out any windows. In the walls there are closets or cupboards, 
which served to contain domestic utensils, food, &c. Earthen 
pots with maize, coca, and other things, are still often found in 
these closets. The ceiling of the room is overlaid with flat plates 
of stone, and in the centre an aperture, two feet wide, is left, 
forming a communication with the second floor, which is precisely 
like the first, but has two small windows. The roof of this apart 
ment has also an aperture, affording access to the third floor, the 
ceiling of which forms the roof of the house, and consists of rather 
thick plates of stone. The upper room is usually less lofty than 
the two rooms below it, and seems to have been used as a pro 
vision store-room. I found in one of these upper rooms the 
mummy of a child very well embalmed. The family appear to 
have lived chiefly on the ground-floors. The place for cooking 
is often plainly perceptible. The second floor was probably the 
sleeping apartment. In the course of my travels, when over 
taken by storms, I often retreated for shelter into one of these 
ruined dwellings. 

The ancient Peruvians frequently buried their dead in their 
own houses, and then removed from them. This custom appears 
to have been very general about the time of the Spanish conquest, 
when a great number of Indians committed suicide in despair. 
Household utensils were placed in the graves, when the dead 


were juried in the houses, as well as when they were interred 
in other places. In many houses in which I made diggings I 
regularly found the following arrangement. Under a stratum of 
earth two feet deep lay the body, in a state of good preservation, 
and generally, but not always, in a sitting posture. On clearing 
away another stratum of earth equally deep there is found a 
variety of household vessels for cooking, together with water- 
pots of clay, gourds, hunting and fishing implements, &c. There 
is frequently a third layer of earth, beneath which the gold and 
silver vessels and the household deities are deposited. The idols 
are of clay, stone, and copper, or of the precious metals. Those 
of clay are hollow, flat, compressed, and in most instances the 
faces are painted. Those of stone are of granite, porphyry, or 
sand-stone. These stone images are solid, and often several feet 
high. The golden idols are always hollow ; but they exhibit no 
distinct trace of the soldering. They are of various sizes ; some 
of them weigh three quarters of a pound. Those of silver are 
always solid. All these images of deities have the same physi 
ognomy, and disproportionately large head. In most instances 
the head is covered by a peculiar kind of cap. 

The vessels used for holding water or other liquids are very 
various in color and form. Most of them exhibit ludicrous carica 
tures of human figures ; others are unrecognisable representa 
tions of animals or fancy figures. These vessels have in general 
two apertures, one by which they were filled, and the other by 
which the liquid was poured out. On filling them a feeble flute- 
like sound is heard. It is occasioned by the air escaping 
through the other aperture. Most of these vessels are made of 
red or black clay, well glazed. Those for holding chicha were 
very capacious. Some of them, which have been found her 
metically closed, have contained^ chicha upwards of three 
hundred years old, and remarkable for a very smoky flavor. 
On the vessels made of gourds fanciful figures are generally 
carved. Gold drinking cups have been found, adorned with 
well executed embossed ornaments, and like the images, showing 
no trace of soldering. Among the warlike weapons, the stone 
battle-axes are very remarkable ; they have at both ends a tube; 
in which tie handle was fixed by ligatures. Articles for person 


al adornment, such as nose and lip rings, neck chains, pins, 
bracelets, and ancle bands, are usually of gold, and set with 
small colored shells. The sceptres of the Incas are of gold, and 
exquisitely wrought ; those of the Curacas of silver and those 
of the Caciques of copper, sometimes gilt. 

Idols and utensils made of wood are very rarely found. It 
would appear that the ancient Peruvians found more difficulty in 
the working of wood than that of inetal and stone. The Peruvians 
give to all objects dug up from the old graves, the name of 
Huaqueros, from Huaca, the word for grave in the Quichua 

The huacas or graves vary in form or magnitude. When 
destined for single individuals they were made small ; but when 
for families, they were of considerable extent. On the sandy 
soil of the coast, no elevation marks the spot where the bodies are 
interred ; but further inland (though still in the coast region), 
the graves are for the most part elevated and arched, and are 
built of bricks. In the Sierra the tombs are of stone, qua 
drangular, oval, or of an obelisk form. 

In the huacas, the bodies are found in a sitting position, and 
supported by stones or reeds : the face turned towards the cast. 
In front of the body it was customary to place two rows of pots 
containing quinua, maize, potatoes, dried llama flesh, and other 
kinds of provisions, and these pots were all covered with small 
lids. On each side of the body were ranged cooking utensils, 
and vessels containing water and chicha. The body and all the 
objects deposited in the grave were covered with a layer of sand, 
above which were spread various articles of clothing. Over 
these was placed another layer of sand, and then the tomb was 
built above the whole. 

The bodies are found wrapped in several coverings ; and 
when first taken out of the graves, they have the appearance of 
unfinished statues; the position of the head, knees, and feet 
being alone recognisable. A strong net-work, composed of 
twisted straw or bast incloses a thick rush mat, in which the body 
is wrapped. These coverings being removed, there is found a 
broad, woollen bandage, passing round the body, and fastening 
the rushes or sticks which support it in a sitting position. Under 


this bandage is a red or party-colored covering which goes over 
the whole body ; and beneath this are one or two yellowish- white 
coverings, strongly sewed up. On removing these coverings, 
there are found some pots or drinking cups, a few ornaments, the 
Hnallqui with coca, and in most instances a silver or gold idol 
suspended from the neck of the body. The undermost wrapper 
consists of a cloth of rather fine texture. Probably it was 
originally white, but time has changed it to a reddish-yellow. 
This covering being unsewed, the naked corpse appears ; the 
head alone being encircled with two or three bandages, called 
Huinchas. The body is always in a sitting posture ; the knees 
being drawn up towards the face, and the arms crossed over the 
breast, in such a manner that the chin rests between the two 
clenched hands. The wrists are tied together, and the ligature 
with which they are fastened is passed round the neck. This, 
which was evidently done only to keep the hands fixed in the 
required position, has led some commentators on Peruvian 
antiquities to suppose that the bodies found with strings round the 
necks were those of hanged persons. In the mouth there is a 
thin piece of gold, silver or copper ; most of the bodies are in a 
good state of preservation, though the features are not discernible. 
The hair is always found perfectly free from decay ; and that of 
the females is beautifully plaited. 

The question has arisen, whether these bodies were embalmed, 
or whether their preservation is merely the result of the mum 
mifying nature of the climate. Both conjectures have found 
zealous supporters. Don Francisco Barrero, keeper of the 
Museum of Natural History in Lima, mentions, in the Memorial 
de Ciendas Naturales,* that among the ancient Peruvians certain 
men were appointed as embalmers, and he describes the process 
they adopted as follows : They first extracted the brain through 
the nose, then took out the eyes, and stopped up the sockets with 
cotton. The bowels, lungs, and even the tongue, were removed, 
after which the body and skull were filled with a kind of powder, 
which immediately after it is taken out of the mummies, diffuses 
a slight odor of turpentine ; this odor, however, it soon loses 

* Vol. II., p. 106. 


on being exposed to the action of the air. The face, hands, and 
feet, were rubbed over with an oily substance, after which the 
body was incased in the envelopes above described. I am dis 
posed to believe that this process never had any existence, save 
in the imagination of Barrera : it indeed resembles the manner 
in which the Egyptians prepared their mummies ; but no such 
method was practised among the Indians. The mummies col 
lected in the museum of Lima present not the slightest trace of 
this powder, or indeed of any kind of preservative material a 
fact which is mentioned by the director of that establishment, 
Don E. Mariano de Rivero, in his Antiguedades Peruanas.* 

On those parts of the coast where it never rains, the combined 
heat of the sun and the sand has dried up the bodies ; in the 
mountain districts, the pure atmosphere and the peculiarly drying 
nature of the wind have produced the same effect. Similar ap 
pearances may be traced to different circumstances. Of this 
fact the burial ground of Huacho, and the mummified animals 
seen on the level heights, furnish the most convincing proofs. 
In districts exposed to frequent rain, mummies are found in 
very bad preservation, most of them being mere skeletons. All 
are in sitting postures. In those parts of the Sierra where the 
soil is impregnated with nitre, bodies, which must have lain in 
the ground for several centuries, are found in a very fresh con 
dition, notwithstanding the humidity. 

Garcilaso de la Vega and the Padre Acosta state that the 
ancient Peruvians were acquainted with the art of embalming, 
but that they employed it only for the bodies of their kinc^s. In 
the Temple of the Sun at Cuzco, there were found excellently 
preserved mummies of the Incas, each seated on a throne. 
Several years after the Spanish conquest, these mummies were 
conveyed to Lima, and were buried in the court of the hospital 
of San Andres. It is deeply to be deplored that the fanaticism 
of the Spanish conquerors should have destroyed these interest 
ing remains of the ancient sovereigns of Peru. 

The facts adduced in the course of this volume, relative to the 
barbarous colonization system of the Spaniards, must sufficiently 

* Published in 1S46. 


prove how adverse was Spanish dominion to the improvement of 
the natives, and to the prosperity of the country. For Peru, 
Nature s bounteously favored land, let us hope that there is 
reserved a future, happier than either the past or the present ! 



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